Goody Two-Shoes and the Enablers

Goody Two Shoes Mamacita says:  I am no Goody Two-Shoes, but I am basically a kind person. I would lie down in the road if I thought that would help some people. I work overtime to help students. I still do my children’s laundry, and I feed them whenever they visit. I would do the same for you. If ever they (or their friends) (or you) need a helping hand, I’ve got one at the end of each arm. I have worked really hard all my life. The thing is, I think everyone should work hard. All their lives. I think everyone should look out for everyone else. I think everyone should use their own hands to support themselves and help others. I have little patience with lazy people, or people who choose not to work. If you need me, all you have to do is ask. I’ll bring you food. I’ll do your laundry. I’ll shingle your roof. (Yes, I can do that!) But if you’re just lying around waiting to be waited on, or feel in any way, shape, or form that the world owes you a living,  I will tell you exactly what I think of you.

That being said.

Look, I’m no Goody Two Shoes. I can be really snarky. Nobody can out-horrify me in Cards Against Humanity. I have little patience with adults who consistently make poor decisions, but I also think some people get far more sympathy than they deserve.

Here’s the thing. I am feeling a little bit guilty because I can’t seem to conjure up much sympathy for all these celebrity addicts who seem to be dropping like flies – by their own hands..

nicotine, cigarettes, addictWhen I have students who can’t go fifteen minutes without dashing out to the parking lot for a smoke, and when I have coworkers who NEED a break every half hour or even sooner because they NEED a break. . . well, I can’t help but wonder where the “fair” factor is. Those who work through other people’s frequent breaks are the good students and good workers and the people I would trust with important things. Those who allow their desire for a ______(insert drug of choice here) to interfere with their responsibilities make me kind of, well, disgusted.

Hoarders. Methies. Smokers. Drunks. Hormonal wonders.  Life is full of so many choices; why do so many people take the gutter route? And please don’t lecture me about poverty and illness. So many people pick themselves up andteen mom, pregnant teen, hormonal girl rise up out of the ashes of other people’s messes and make a success of their own lives; why can’t more people? So they might have to walk eight miles uphill to get an education – do it! So they’re madly in love and their hormones are nuts and that guy with the good job at Taco Bell is getting more and more insistent that “if you really love me. . . .” hey. To do it or not to do it is a choice, too.

Honestly, people with no self control puzzle me. I just don’t get it. Horndogs, gluttons, people who feel they have a right to stink up a building because they WANT to, people who are better drivers after a couple of beers. . . What the hell, people?

“I can’t help it” is the feeblest excuse in the world. Yes, you CAN help it. You can choose not to. It’s your CHOICE. Nobody is forcing you. Whether you do it or not is entirely up to YOU.

heroin, stupid people, addictIf you are so weak that even knowing what might happen if you continue to choose the nutjob path, you still choose it, you are committing suicide and I think you know it.

“But I can’t help it.” “I can’t control myself.”

Why not. Others can.

“I don’t think I can give up the huge pile of my own human shit on the bathroom floor or the 4,000 almost-empty bottles of shampoo in the hoarder bathroom, addict, nutjobshed. As long as there’s a quarter inch of liquid in each bottle, it would be wasteful to discard them. Besides, I NEED them.”

No, you don’t. There is something horribly wrong with you.

You are committing slow suicide with your extremely wrong choices. This or that. And you choose that. And you are simultaneously choosing your personal preferences over everything and everyone else in your life.  You are harming the innocent because you are completely absorbed in yourself.

crystal meth, addiction, dumbassPeople make these awful inhuman choices all the time. Boyfriends over children. Alcohol over relationships. Nicotine over cleanliness. Big pile of bloody underpants in the kitchen sink over normalcy. Girlfriend over family. Meth over decency.

All because these choices make a person feel, personally, better for a little while.

The worst and most disgusting choices of all? Any of these things over life, and the others who love and need you even though you’ve put them absolutely last and yourself absolutely first.

Me me me me me.

For shame.

I fully understand how addiction can grip someone and be really hard to pry off. I also believe that if a person really wanted to be free of said addiction, that person would move heaven and earth to rid him/herself of it, which does not include cooking it in the front yard, buying 50 pounds of it and storing it under the bed, walking out the door and getting in a lover’s car, stepping in poop to get to the sink, dropping your drawers for every cute Taco Bell guy (but he’s got a steady job and he loves me!). Sometimes when I hear about the awful things people with no self control do to themselves and to those who trusted and loved them, I fear for the human race.

Feel sorry for these people, yes. Of course. They’re sick.

But if they continue to do nothing whatsoever except demand sympathy, exceptions, and breaks because of their negative choices, then they’ve gone way past deserving sympathy or breaks or exceptions of any kind.

If they’re not actively working really hard to rid themselves of the demons that have been invited to possess them, then the time will come when the locks must be changed and the abandoned loved ones must move on to someone else, preferably someone who cares more for a spouse and a child than someone who chooses himself/herself every time.

drunk, slob, addict, idiotIn the old days, such people were locked in a room and required to dry out, cold turkey. Perhaps, in the old days, the right things were done.

It hurts? I’m sweating? Oh the AGONY?

Ask these people’s friends, families, and employers if they’ve ever hurt, sweated, or been in agony over this guy’s choices.

That’s what I thought.

Bring it on.abandoned child, where are you daddy, addiction

Remember, I’m sorry for these people. But I’m a lot sorrier for their abandoned, used, lied-to not-very-loved ones.

Grow up.  Make good choices.  FORCE yourself to do the right thing.  (the fact that some people must be forced to do the right thing is pretty sad, too.)

I know that those of you who believe addiction is 100% beyond any one person’s control will consider me a monster with no heart.

I’ve dealt with victims of other people’s addictions for over thirty years.  Maybe if you’d seen what I see regularly, you’d have less sympathy for the addict and more sympathy for his/her innocent victims.

Small Vocabulary = Small. . . . . Brain*

Mamacita says: A person who advocates censorship probably has a small vocabulary.  People with small vocabularies don’t have the understanding nor the schema to comprehend things that people with big vocabularies have no trouble understanding and applying.

I can’t help but wonder if all this brouhaha about dumbing down the vocabulary in classic literature right now has at least part of its origin in the sad fact that many of our parents and teachers can’t understand the big words.

This isn’t funny; it’s unforgivable.

John Wayne, quote about stupidity

The more words we know, the better able we are to communicate with others and to understand others.  Literate people have three vocabularies, as I tell my students each semester.  One is relatively small; one is medium-sized, and one is quite large.  Think “The Three Bears.”

Our smallest vocabulary is our speaking vocabulary.  The middle-sized vocabulary is our writing vocabulary.  Our largest vocabulary is – or at least, is supposed to be – our reading vocabulary.

That is, our reading vocabulary is large unless the dumbing-down PC police have stuck their white-out pens into other peoples’ business.

The only person who has the right to change a piece of writing is the writer.  Period.  If you are so over-sensitive and culturally illiterate that you are offended because back in a certain period of history, people spoke and acted in a particular way, and you don’t want anybody to know about it because it hurts your feelings even though it was quite ordinary for the times, and you’re unable, due to your low brain cell count, to create a valuable lesson with such facts, you’re sadly and selfishly stupid.  I pity your poor children.  I hope you’re not a teacher.

Peter Rabbit being put to bed by his mother and fed soporific lettuceAnd if you belong to the school of thought that still thinks that “soporific” is a word that small children can’t handle and you want it removed from Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” there are no words in any thesaurus to adequately describe your ignorance.

I despise you.  I try not to, but I do.  You’re an intellectual coward.  You yourself don’t understand something, so you straightaway condemn it.  Unforgivable.

I’ll tell all of you something else I tell all of my students:  put a thesaurus in your bathroom.  Learn a couple of new words with each twosie.  Two new words a thesaurusday, say, or maybe three, times seven days a week times 365 days a year equals a lot of new words.  Do it.  You can get a thesaurus at the Dollar Tree, a good enough edition for a bathroom.  You’ll be replacing it every month or so anyway.  I hope you do, anyway – nobody’s family is that clean.

* As for the title, it’s absolutely true, and such people’s brains aren’t the only small body part they’re sporting.  This is, of course, an opinion, but I firmly believe that people who advocate censorship are considerably unendowed in every other area, as well.  The first punch is almost always thrown by the person with the smaller vocabulary.  He/she runs out of words and has to lash out in the only way left to them, exactly like a toddler who runs out of words and melts down in frustration.

Censorship comes in all kinds of guises, all of them disgusting.  Equally disgusting is our population’s growing lack of cultural literacy.  We learn by exposure.

Bad Ending? No. Just, No.

Mamacita says:  My nerves can’t take a movie with a bad ending.  It’s to the point that I will usually check out the ending online before I go to the theater rather than chance another notch on my “bad ending” belt.

What constitutes a bad ending?  An ending wherein every possible plot isn’t resolved to my satisfaction.  An ending wherein someone awakens from a dream.  An ending wherein all the wrong people end up together.  An ending wherein the bad people win.  An ending that isn’t an ending at all – unless it’s a movie version of a beloved book series that is too long and complicated to be completed in only one movie.  There are many possible bad endings, and they are all a matter of opinion.  My opinion.  In case you were looking for some kind of logic here, there isn’t any.  My blog – my opinion.  Works for me.

It's a bad ending if I say it's a bad ending.

It’s a bad ending if I say it’s a bad ending.

There is a point of origin to this madness, of course.

Several years ago, I had the misfortune to see three movies in one week, all of which had a bad ending.  The first one made me lean back in my chair and go “Oh NOOOOOOO.”  The second one made me lean back in my chair and go “Oh SHIIIIIIIIIIIIT, not AGAAAAAAAAIN.”

The third one traumatized me to the point that I’m now Movie Spoilers‘ most frequent flyer.  I just can’t deal with bad endings.  I can’t do it.  I don’t WANT to do it.  You’re not my mother and you can’t make me.  (Mom, if you’re reading this, I don’t live with you any more and you can’t make me do ANYTHING now, and I know you’re not going to guilt me into watching a movie.)

I also can’t deal with non-super-hero violence, gore, gratuitous blood and guts, intense suspense, police drama, criminals, kidnappers, torture, and murder.  In other words, I don’t go to the movies much any more.

I still have nightmares about movies or TV shows I saw thirty years ago.  I am still trying to rewrite, in my head, every movie with a bad ending that I’ve ever seen.  It doesn’t help that I tend to insert myself into every book I read and every movie or TV show I watch or have ever watched.

I’m normal.  Shut up.

The Challenger: Never Forget

Challenger CrewMamacita says:  I repost this every year on the anniversary of the Challenger explosion.

My school was excited beyond all measure about the Challenger. A TEACHER was going into space, and this was unheard of. The students were thrilled to think of the possibility that perhaps some day, mean old Mrs. HagTeacher might be launched out into the vastness of space, never to give a pop math quiz again.

My community is proud to boast several astronauts, and there are billboards with their pictures and names in several places all over the county.  My students were familiar with the concept of “astronaut,” but Lawrence County astronautsmost kids really knew next to nothing about the realities of being one.  A teacher, on the other hand, was someone they were familiar with. They knew what a teacher actually did on a daily basis – or thought they knew.  That a teacher might also be an astronaut, of sorts, was a brand new concept. If a local person could be an astronaut, maybe it was a possibility for the students, but if a teacher could go into space, then the chances that a student might someday go into space suddenly got even better odds. The next astronaut might even be someone from our school. My school took this enthusiasm and ran with it.

The principal rented a big screen TV. Remember, this was back in the days when most schools, especially tiny ones like mine, did not have vast technological or media resources. We rented a big-screen tv, and big screen TV, 1980'sscheduled a big convocation. The whole student population was going to watch a teacher go into space via a big convocation in the gym, all eyes on that one big screen. This seems ludicrous now, but back then it was cutting edge.  BIG SCREEN.  (45 inches, mind you.)  BIG.  One 45-inch TV for a gym full of kids to watch.  There was no television access of any kind in the entire school, so one of the teachers brought in a satellite dish just for the afternoon.  This was a huge deal.  Huge.

We had essay contests about it. Trivia contests about it. We sent home newsletters with at-home things that parents could do with their children, about it. It was the biggest deal of the semester.

This is the newsletter that was sent home with all students a few days before the Challenger disaster.

This is the newsletter that was sent home with all students a few days before the Challenger disaster.

I had hall duty that day, and couldn’t go with the students to the gym, to watch the teacher go into space. But as I sat there, and watched the children file past, in twos and threes, to the gym, I was filled with awe that they were going to see something never seen before: a shuttle launch with a teacher aboard. An ordinary person was going into space. A teacher. For the rest of their lives, they would realize that all things are connected, even outer space, to what we learn from a teacher in a classroom. And that teachers have courage, and are willing to do things most people will never be able to do.

I sat there in the hall and watched them go into the gym, giggly and happy and full of anticipation. Each child had a blank sheet of paper in his/her hand, and a pencil, to draw what they saw. There was going to be a big contest.

Only a few minutes later, I sat there in the hall and watched these same students file back into their classrooms. They were quiet, and their eyes were big. Nothing had changed for me; I was still sitting there in the hall, but for those children, a lot had changed.

I don’t even remember what we did in my classroom for the rest of that afternoon. I know that I did not envy the elementary teachers. What could they possibly be telling the small children about what they had seen? I just do not know. My own children were down there in the lower grades; they didn’t have much to say when we got home. My little son was affected the most, I think; he had always been obsessed with rockets and loud things that went “boom,” but this was a loud “boom” that occurred before his very eyes, and the rocket blew apart, and he was old enough to realize what it meant.

Later in the afternoon, I looked out my classroom windows and saw the men loading the rented big-screen TV into a truck. It drove away.

A few parents were upset that their children had been shown the explosion in school, but they were completely out of line, and I think even they knew it. But upset people are often illogical.

The media played up the ‘teacher’ part of this tragedy. My children knew all about teachers; both their parents were teachers. Teachers were no big deal to them. My children, small as they were, wondered why none of the other people on board that shuttle were mentioned much, on tv or in the papers. I wondered that, myself.

The Holiday About Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther KingMamacita says:  Why is this day a holiday in most communities?  Why does Martin Luther King, Jr. merit a holiday?

This day is a holiday because intelligent, sensitive, educated people understand that today deserves respect because a man who dedicated his entire life to peaceful means of acquiring freedom for all people fully deserves to be recognized, and there are still, shamefully, communities that do not consider this of any importance. Making it a holiday forces people to look at his name on their calendar, if nothing else.

If he had advocated violence, it would have been different. Violence does not deserve recognition. If he had advocated “something for nothing,” it would have been different. Bums do not deserve recognition.

But Dr. Martin Luther King advocated equal rights for all people, not just for whites and not just for blacks and not just for whites & blacks. He dedicated his life to gaining equal rights for EVERYONE.

And I can’t help but listen to a speaker with such beautiful grammar. His grammar enhances his message.

May we all have this same dream.

Careful, grammatically-correct language and an almost poetic speaking style will always get my attention.  It’s an assumption on my part, of course, but I associate good grammar with people who actually know what they’re talking about.  In fact, I am convinced that this is so.

Martin Luther King, Jr. definitely knew what he was talking about, and he knew HOW to present it.

====Martin Luther King, Jr., hate, let no man

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many thanks to Norm Reeves Hyundi Superstore for creating this graphic.

Many thanks to Norm Reeves Hyundi Superstore for creating this graphic.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fruit and Words and Time and Helping Verbs

"Why not go out on a limb; isn't that where the fruit is?"

“Why not go out on a limb; isn’t that where the fruit is?”               — Frank Scully

Mamacita says:  I’ve always been more than a little bit obsessed with sci fi, particularly when it’s about time.  Time, and fruit, both of which need helping verbs.  They do.  So do you.
That picture up there?  I’ve always liked that quotation. I also believe it is absolutely true. I think about it whenever I’m feeling particularly cowardly. It helps me overcome it. Words help me overcome it.
I’ve always stood in awe before the power of words.
With words, simple words, we can delve into the past and the future, and all the various time blends that scientists must use big words to explain, but which writers can explain simply by using one or two of the helping verbs Ol’ Miz Roberts made us memorize back in seventh grade.
Time machines in stories show the blending of times with numerals and fast-motion, whipping past the window of the machine, or by numbers going backwards or forwards on a dial.
The Time Machine

The Time Machine

Writers just use a helping verb or two.
Scientists discuss the concept of time, past time, present time, future time, using diagrams and equations and big, big words.
Writers just stick a “have” or “had” or a “will” in front of a plain old verb to show the same thing.
Past and future are the easiest to measure. They are also the easiest to understand, or comprehend.
“Already happened” and “not happened yet” are no biggie.
It’s the present that’s the most difficult to comprehend and measure, because even with all of our scientific knowledge, inventions, devices, equations, whatever, the present is too fleeting to measure. The actual ‘present’ is so fleeting, we can’t even realize it ourselves. By the time we do, it’s already gone. Blink, and it’s past. Breathe, and it’s past. Sit still; each beat of your heart is in the past, because by the time you are aware, it’s too late, it’s gone.
Look at your children. They’re in the present, sure, if you want to call it that. Watch them sleeping. Each rise and fall of the covers is already part of the past. History. It’s already happened.
Young Mother Contemplating Her Sleeping Child in Candlelight, by Albert Anker

Young Mother Contemplating Her Sleeping Child in Candlelight, by Albert Anker

And it will never happen again. Not that particular breathe. Not that particular heartbeat. Watch them play; this moment will never come again.
So often we say that we can’t WAIT for a particular phase or week or school year, etc, to be over with. Be careful what you wish, my dears. . . . When it’s gone, it’s gone.
The actual present can’t be measured, not by us, not yet. Use it carefully, for once you’re aware of it, it’s already part of your history.
It's history. YOUR history.

It’s history. YOUR history.

And your history, and mine, are, of course, part of the history of mankind.
Ah, the power of words, that we can so clearly express the elements of time with just a few simple helping verbs.
I wondered about it. (simple past: one-shot deal, it’s over.)
For many years, I have wondered about it. (present perfect: I was wondering in the past and I’m STILL wondering. Two times are represented here, one in the past and one in the present.)

I had wondered about it before I said something. (past perfect: both actions are in the past, but one is more recent than the other. Two times are represented; both past.)I have always enjoyed teaching this concept, and with adult students, it’s even more awesome. I’ve had students weep, during this lesson.

Words are powerful. A pen in the hand is power. Use words carefully, and properly. Choose them wisely.
The pen in your hand is magic.

The pen in your hand is magic.

Remember, there’s a big difference between a wise man and a wise guy. And which would you prefer: a day off or an off day?
Words.  Oh words, how I adore you.


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