Abridgements are the Devil

Mamacita says: When I was in the second grade, my teacher, Mrs. Herod (I adored her) introduced me to the world of unabridged fairy tales, for which I thank her profusely almost daily. The stories were dark, forbidding, forboding, creepy, horrifying, cannibalistic, violent, bloody, and absolutely wonderful. And then she read some Hans Christian

Anderson tales to us, and I went home and wept all night. How heartbreaking could a story BE? The Little Match Girl. The Fir Tree. The Little Mermaid. The Steadfast Tin Soldier. And more. I couldn’t wait to go to the public library and check out a book of unabridged fairy tales, and unabridged Anderson tales. No watered-down Disney version could ever compete; those versions are a category unto themselves, but that category is NOT an actual fairy tale.

But I digress, and you really don’t want to get me started on the abridged, edited version of ANYTHING because abridgements are of the devil. Anyhoot, unabridged fairy tales rock, and nobody can beat Hans Christian Anderson for stories that break your heart, and I mean into kazillions of pieces. They’re just that good.

Shopping Carts: Return or Not To Return

Mamacita says: I just read a post wondering if returning one’s shopping cart was a viable test of ethics. I vote “yes.”

I returned my cart in the pouring rain, over ice and snow in the lot, with broken ankles whilst balancing on crutches, with babies, with toddlers, with children of all ages, with severe breathing problems, with arthritis, with muscular dystrophy eating away at my balance, and with two massive heart attacks in one year under my belt. Or above it, as the case may be.

My point? I don’t believe the excuses.

Other ethics tests? Not using turn signals, the “20 items” line with 21 items, handicapped parking spots (just running in for a minute), full stops at stop signs, driving over the speed limit, joining a drive-through line that extends out into the street, giving a complicated special order in the drive-through line, being rude to service sector employees, and not leaving a store immediately when your child starts to have a temper tantrum. Add to this people who hoard vital supplies, cheat (cheat at Candyland? Will probably cheat on taxes and spouse.) refuse to mask up, don’t believe in vaccines, and cherish Fox “News.” That latter might be more of an IQ test than an ethics test, but sometimes the two blend so thoroughly, it’s hard to tell the difference.

To go out in public at all is a risk and shouldn’t be done unless absolutely necessary now, but to go out in public socially, for no actual reason, and to do so without regard for the safety and lives of others should be a crime.

Elf on the Shelf: My Take

Mamacita says; If there had been such a thing as Elf on the Shelf back when my kids were little, you can bet something precious that I would have utilized it.

See the source image
Elf on the Shelf? Oh heck yes.

Oh, we had the Elf back then, but he wasn’t a tattle-tale at that time; he was just a decoration. Without a spy elf, I had to resort to other tactics; for example, the direct call to the North Pole. My kids, like every other kid, were excited and hyper as we got closer to Christmas, but they were never off-the-wall or disobedient, at least not very, so a tale-telling Elf wouldn’t have had much to report, anyway.

But honestly? ANYTHING that helps to monitor a child’s holiday behavior is fine by me. “The Elf had to give Santa an honest report, kids. Try harder tomorrow, okay?” Fine by me.

As for parents who don’t have the time or inclination to turn December into a magical fantasy for their children. . . . I taught middle school all day and waited tables all night. I worked every high school basketball game. I was the marching band secretary, and helped feed the teams before each game. I did all this while battling dermatomyositis, a debilitating and exhausting muscle condition. My doctor told me that my stress levels were so high, I’d probably still be able to walk even if I had no bones. But these stresses were only temporary, and they were for my children, so I did them cheerfully. And when I got home, I made magic.

Typical Angel Tree

Now that my own kids are grown, I pull names off Angel Trees and make magic for those kids. In December, I HAVE to make magic for children. It’s in my very soul. If I could do it, you can, too. And if you don’t do it, it’s because you just plain don’t want to, not because you can’t. I’m so sorry for children for whom December isn’t a magical month, made so by someone, even if their parents don’t do it. But I digress. Elf on the Shelf? Yep.

Smart People Wear Masks

Mamacita says: Almost every store in this town has a “masks required” sign on the front door, but nobody is enforcing it and “those” people are stalking through the door and up and down the aisles touching everything.

A worker told me they didn’t dare enforce the rule because they feared the violence from the great unmasked. How sad, when our brave people who dare to wait on us and cash us out and otherwise take care of us are forced to endure the unmasked, unvaccinated hordes for fear “those” people will hurt them. . . . Shame on us as a culture. Well, not all of us. Just “them.”

Ancestral Pride

Mamacita says: Our ancestors took enormous pride in their children’s education. Many of these ancestors had little if any education; in the various old countries, it wasn’t possible for many reasons. It was too late for most of the adults; they had to earn a living, but they focused on their children. Their children were going to be educated, by gosh and by golly, no matter what the parents’ sacrifices might have to be.

When their kids came home from school with new ideas, and books their parents couldn’t understand, quoting people other than family members and religious leaders, questioning the old ways and contradicting their elders, these parents beamed with pride because it meant their children were becoming educated, and educated people question things.

“This child was born of parents who can read and write. To me, this is a great miracle.” — Mary Rommely, from “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

How far we have fallen from the true purpose of education. We have parents who are desperately afraid of their children knowing anything they don’t already know and approve of. This. . .. . is worse than tragedy. We are going backwards. We have people who are afraid of knowledge. We have people who fear learning lest their set ways be challenged. These people will destroy us all. Our ancestors, who sacrificed their own education and lives that their children and grandchildren might learn, are turning in their graves from shame.

Learn Some Context

Mamacita says: Context, people. Learn some context. No no NO. No updates, edits, modernization, political correcting, adding, eliminating, changing, gender swapping, romance insertions or removals, relationship changing, etc. If you want a story that suits you better, write a new story or stick to fan fiction. Stories that are already written are carved in stone.

I don’t necessarily “approve” of everything I voraciously read, and sometimes I love a book, sometimes I don’t, sometimes it’s meh, sometimes it’s awful for any variety of reasons, but whatever my reaction, it wasn’t my story to tell, or yours, and what the actual author wrote should stand inviolable. I’ve rewritten many novels – in my head – in my lifetime and will no doubt rewrite many more to suit myself, but the very idea of changing someone else’s story to better suit someone else and stop all future publication of the original, actual story? Blatant thievery. Learn about context, for all our sakes.