Blast from the Past

In my old neck of the woods, they have some classic, high-minded, quality journalists on Facebook that keep the community informed and offer helpful tips on how to stay safe. You know, the kind of journalism straight out of the 1950s. Headlines that drag one’s memory back to a time when wives met husbands at the door with a cocktail and doe-eyed kisses, all while balancing delicately on heels and happy pills.

If you can’t feel the sarcasm dripping from these statements, let me share with you their recent report that inspired it. See if you can spot the informational gem in question.

aa first alert redacted

Yes, ladies, close those blinds! Be sure to spend your sun-filled days and early evening hours in a dark hole of false safety. While you’re at it, strap down those boobs, keep your skirts floor-length, and never (but never!) go out at night! Men just can’t help themselves, apparently, and it is your responsibility to not be their next victim! 

What is perhaps most disappointing is that this band of merry journalists are themselves, women.

I was not alone in taking offense at this headline. Several readers, all women, of course, complained. Unfortunately, most of our comments were deleted or hidden. Silencing the voices of the dissenters, the bedrock of quality journalism.

Admittedly, my first comment, made directly to the post, may have been a little snarky:  “Men, here is your reminder to not be a perv and exploit women!” There, fixed your headline for you. Do better, Anne Arundel First Alert.” 

Yeah, perhaps I could have gone a little easier on them, but I am just so sick and tired of seeing these passive headlines.

Turns out, quite a few others made similar remarks.

Someone mentioned how wrong it was to victim blame, and AA First Alert came back with: “We’re not victim blaming at all, and the article does not infer that. But the fact remains, if the blinds or shades were drawn, there would be nothing for the Peeping Tom to peep at.”

Hmm… sounds a little like victim-blaming to me. How dare that woman open her blinds to the beauty of the world outside? Doesn’t she know there are creepy, uncontrollable men lurking in the bushes? Could she not think about them for once!?

wont-somebody-please-think-of-the-children-think-of-the-children

I crafted a more intelligent response to that particular comment and posted this: “As journalists, you should understand that words matter, words have power. Your headline calling out the victim is disappointing. Victim blaming and putting the onus on women to control men’s behavior is misguided and wrong, to say the least. Women should be able to simply exist, especially in their own homes, and men should be able to control themselves.”

Welp. That didn’t go over well. After deleting mine and other comments, they edited their above comment to exclude the But… statement. Talk about journalistic integrity, right?

A male reader commented, “The ‘woke’ women on this page (insert eye roll emoji in place of a period) Taking someone’s wording with good intentions and twisting them to some delusional opinions.” Guess who loved this comment (and others like it)… yep, you guessed it. AA First Alert.

first alert another screen shot

It’s extremely disheartening to see a group of women who are unwilling to grow beyond their own ingrained biases, even more so when they put themselves out there as a voice for the community. It is not unreasonable to expect better from people who are reporting the news. Yeah, I know, I know, I’ve given up on expecting anything better from the likes of FOX News, but still. 

Instead of addressing their own internal misogyny and striving to grow as journalists (which would’ve been an excellent take on their part), they simply deleted the naysayers. I had hoped this group of local aspiring journalists would take misogyny, bigotry, and hate in hand and do better for the community they claim to represent.

Instead, it appears they can’t think past the cliché, pandering clickbait headline. Until they do, they have no hope of becoming credible journalists. 

Lucky Charms or Magically Malicious?

People will try ridiculous things to get rid of their old junk. Craigslist ads are prime examples of this. Some people employ humor to flag down the attention of potential buyers. Others appeal to our psyche’s darker, inquisitive sides and rely on the macabre factor to garnish views. Sometimes, the difference between the two can be blurry and questionable.

Recently, someone posted a piano for sale, clarifying that it is “Not possessed or haunted in any way.” Well, that’s an eye-catcher. Okay, I’ll bite. What else about this perfectly mundane, non-haunted piano? The lister continues, mentioning that it has only been played by “human” hands roughly six minutes since its last tuning which was 24 months prior. So human hands haven’t overly touched it, but have ghost hands had a go? I assumed this was a joke, playing to people’s love of the mysterious. They end the ad with a simple but slightly enticing plea, “Please take this out of my home.” I couldn’t help but notice some desperation in that request. Whether it was from simply wanting the piano gone for lack of use, aesthetic reasons, or because there really are ghostly hands that dance along the keys in the dark hours of the night, I’ll never know. Sadly, I don’t have room for a piano.

haunted piano main

This ad was not the first Craigslist ad to appeal to the all things creepy-loving side of our desires. Haunted dolls have graced numerous listings. These ads don’t quite have the humor of the “not possessed” piano and seem quite real (at least to the sellers). One lister offered to pay someone to take a doll out of their home, lock it in a chest, and keep it far away. Apparently, the doll talked and laughed and, though they kept trying to throw it away, it always came back. Sounds like a horror movie trope, but I saw the picture. The doll did have some wild demonic-looking eyes. I have enough issues with the “ne-er-do-well” trying to kill me in the dark, I certainly don’t need to give her a like-minded partner in crime.

holly

the ne’er-do-well plotting my demise

Another listing, aptly named “Satan’s Marionette Puppet,” claimed their haunted doll ran around the house while they slept. The doll also winked at people, though apparently no one would believe the receiver of said winks. They tried to add a touch of humor (at least, I hope that was their intention) by claiming it would make an excellent mobile for a baby’s crib. The price they asked for this gem of a nightmare… 10,000 souls.  I barely have one soul, and it’s spoken for already, so I passed on this one too.

So who buys these items off Craigslist? Well, people like my ex-MIL.

I won’t say that she is crazy, but she is unique. She once ordered a brass teapot from Craigslist that supposedly had a fairy trapped in it. The genie motif was strong with this particular haunted object, though it did end up taking a slightly Celtic turn.  I mean, I’ve heard of genies trapped in lanterns. But a fairy in a teapot? I didn’t know that was a thing. My MIL believed it, though, and she bought it.

Now, I’m not going to mock anyone who believes in fairies. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,  Than are dreamt of in your philosophy [science],” as Shakespeare once opined. But let’s just say I’m doubtful that this teapot held a fairy. More likely, the seller thought to use humor to catch the attention of a fellow humorist who appreciated a not-so-creative joke. Perhaps they hadn’t expected to be believed. Or maybe they just lied. You know, to appeal to a certain demographic.

For argument’s sake, let’s say it DID contain a fairy. As I said, my ex-MIL certainly believed it did. Let’s just unpack that for a moment. That means my ex-MIL willfully and with forethought bought a sentient being that was trapped against its will with the sole purpose of keeping it on her mantle. She actually expected this bring to bring her luck. Luck. WTF kind of luck can a kidnapped fairy bring you!? I can’t imagine it would be anything good.

From the mythology I’ve read over the years, fairies are fierce (definitely not of the Tinkerbell variety) and become downright enraged when mistreated. You know, like being trapped in a teapot. Oh yeah, pissing off a strong, supernatural being will bring you luck for sure.

So, say you do believe fairies exist in the world (which my MIL did), wouldn’t that be an awful thing to do? I mean, what does it say about her as a person that she would willfully keep one trapped against its will?  In a teapot. On her mantle. To force it to bless her home with luck.

The fact that she has also purchased “haunted” items should not surprise anyone. Fairies trapped in teapots, Satan’s Marionette Puppet, dolls that keep coming back no matter how often you discard them… there just might be a buyer for anything out there, if you know how to advertise successfully.

Have a Glass of Wine with Your Whine

Motherhood is hard. I don’t think anyone would argue that fact. It is a demanding, multi-faceted, over-worked, and under-appreciated, sometimes soul-crushing job. Of course, I know it also brings with it the most profound joy, connection, and love – blah blah blah – so save your comments. I’ll repeat it for those in the back, motherhood is hard.

This shouldn’t be news to anyone. Apparently, this was an unexpected consequence for one woman who decided to write a post for the blog called “Love What Matters.”  It’s not a long read, so please, hop on over and give it a gander. It will also help the below make a lot more sense.

Now, I have a few issues with what Ashley has shared with us, not least of which is the fact that she wrote this under her own name, using photos of herself and her child, so clearly no anonymity was intended. She’s just putting it all out there for the subject of her diatribe, her “very good friend,” to see. But let’s start with the classic debate between stay-at-home moms and working moms. Why do we still argue over who is more deserving of sainthood? Here’s a hint. It’s none of us.

She insults working mothers by claiming, “My job literally never ends. It is 24/7. No hopping in the car, driving to work, clocking in, doing my 8 hours, clocking out.” Oh yeah, cause that’s the fantasy we’re all chasing. She continues with her vision of a working mom, “…driving home to my kids and being with them for 2 to 3 hours for the night routine and then putting them to bed.” As if bedtime is ever that easy. Please.

Does she think a working mom’s job does end? *insert maniacal laughter here* For those who may be wondering, no. No, it doesn’t. And frankly, it’s disheartening to see a mother using this tripe to belittle other mothers. I’ve been both a stay-at-home mom and a working mom at various times in my life, and they are equally fucking hard. Let’s end that tireless debate and put it to rest. Something we all wish our kids would do at a decent hour every evening.  

Then there is the focus of her essay, her “very good friend” going to a bachelorette party. I mean, how dare she!?  I understand the feelings of jealousy, especially coming off such a tough week.  “…near the end of what seemed to be one of the hardest, most tiring weeks of my life as a mother and wife.”  I also get the feelings of hurt that this friend didn’t make it to the writer’s wedding. Although I feel like we are missing a lot of context with that one.

First off, if you choose to have a destination wedding, you don’t have the right to get mad at anyone for not coming. It’s a big commitment, a big ask. People have to take time off work, use their vacation days, spend untold amounts of money to come to a celebration centered around you. Not everyone has that luxury. Maybe this friend wanted to be at her wedding but couldn’t afford the price tag or the time off work. Perhaps now she is in a better financial position to take time off, and it just happened to be for another friend’s bachelorette party (arguably way more fun than a wedding) that was closer to home.

The writer says her friend deserved this trip. Then be happy for her. Don’t write a blog post complaining about how selfish she is to share her deserved adventure with a good friend. It sounds to me as though her friend thought she’d be interested in the photos and what was going on, not lording it over her. Obviously, the writer did not appreciate it.

Ashley questions her friend’s loyalty and commitment to their friendship, but that sure seems like a stretch. On the other hand, Ashley seems almost hateful when talking about her “very good friend,” telling all and sundry “Don’t be that friend. Don’t be rude, don’t be selfish and only think about you.” The lack of self-awareness is strong here, don’t you think?

I get it. The writer had a rough week with her kids. I get it, I do. Unfortunately, that happens in parenting. A lot.

One of the valuable lessons I have learned in life is that if you need something, you have to ask for it (or demand it in some cases). Few people are going to step in and offer help where they don’t think it is needed. People aren’t mind readers. If you need a break from your kids, don’t wait for a friend to offer. Ask directly, plead your case of needing a night away, offer to order them all pizza, and give up your Netflix password for the night. In that case, you’d probably find a willing friend.

Instead of proudly proclaiming that your kids never stay with Grandma, thereby solidifying your martyrdom, ask Grandma if she’s up for some time with the kids. Assuming Grandma isn’t a freak or otherwise unable to care for children, both kids and Grandma might just have a blast enjoying each other’s company. 

Tell your husband that you are on the verge of committing yourself, and it’s time for him to step up and keep the kids for a night. They’re his kids too, after all.  Grab a box of wine and crash on a friend’s couch.

Hire a babysitter for a two-hour dinner with your husband. Or work out a babysitting swap with a friend so you can get some couple time on a regular basis. As a mother, I can attest to the healing power of something as simple as a meal without young children. Even if the dinner is at Denny’s or someplace designed for a smaller budget, it can do wonders for the soul.

Lastly, why the hell is this in a blog called “Love What Matters”? This post is not about love. It is about resentment and blaming others for one’s own lot in life. It is a complaint about the life choices this writer made. She is transferring her frustration and contempt for these choices onto her friend, who was probably just trying to share the joy of her own life. I’d be willing to bet the writer has sent numerous happy pictures of her family to this friend. Hopefully, the friend received those photos with more grace than hers were met with.