Jesus, take the wheel. And the windshield.

In Communication, News and Politics, Religion on October 25, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Today, I went to Mass. I had fallen off a bit in my attendance during a low couple of months but my priest (I refer to him as “my” priest, although I’m pretty sure he’s seeing other people*) gave me the push I needed to get back in the groove.

*Father PLSJ, please forgive me for that joke.

As usual, the homily seemed to be written specifically for me, because that’s how they work. As usual, I left feeling better. Happier, lighter, more at peace. I was ready to enjoy my afternoon with a little laundry, a little dancing, and probably a nap. As not usual, there was a note waiting for me when I returned to my car.

After the nanosecond of fear that I received a ticket (much like when a police car is behind you on the highway and you start going through your driver’s test handbook in your head, trying to find a law that you are breaking), I got out and grabbed what turned out to be a note.

I can’t tell you exactly what it said. I went back into the church and gave it to my priest (he presided over the Mass). I wasn’t sure what emotion I was filled with – maybe anger, maybe panic, maybe sorrow – but whatever it was, I knew keeping that note would intensify and prolong it.

The gist, however, was that this person was very disappointed that I voted for President Obama (yeah, the sticker is still on my car. Whatevs). S/he wrote how saddened they were by my support for the most pro-choice, something, something, Muslim president ever to be elected. There were a few other sentences about how misguided I was and how they hoped I’d make a better decision in the next election. It was addressed to “Sister in Christ” and signed with a similar vaguely religious but anonymous title.

Putting aside the creepiness of someone who watched me arrive to Mass and then left an anonymous note on my car (the “Sister in Christ” confirmed they knew I was female), I was shaken. I had often joked that someday, the Democratic stickers would result in my car being vandalized when I visited the considerably more conservative town where my parents reside or parked in the parking lot of a church whose parishioners had very strong political leanings. It hadn’t really occurred to me that while parked at a downtown meter outside my (fairly progressive) parish, I would receive a personalized condemnation by someone who considered themselves an authority on WJWD (What Jesus Would Do). It was the first time someone of the same faith had expressed judgment of me. Really – I know that may surprise some who think my wildly liberal views would send lightning surging through my body once the holy water hit my forehead, but this was my first encounter with overt disapproval.

The initial surge of adrenaline that was fueling my anger, panic, or fear has subsided, if not disappeared entirely. I will pray for this person. S/he feels a hollowness in their own faith that must be filled with the damnation of others. S/he is too cowardly to bring their petitions to me face-to-face and have to support their electoral argument. His or her concept of grace is restricted to a box-checking idea of religious merit – that if one votes a certain way or pastes these particular bumper stickers to one’s bumper must be stressful and joyless – rather than the knowledge that grace is extended to all. S/he didn’t hear today’s homily, where Father P’s interpretation of the scripture was that it wasn’t the blind and likely unsavory Bartimaeus who served as the lesson, but the crowd – the followers of Jesus who rebuked Bart and his pleas for help.

Rebuke means to express sharp and stern disapproval because of someone’s behavior or actions. The note of rebuke left on my windshield was probably written in the spirit of good faith. This person thinks they did the right thing. S/he thinks they helped me today. And they did, because I learned that the anger or panic or sorrow that my brain initially signaled to my body’s endocrine system was an extension of the lesson from scripture. While the crowd rebuked Bartimaeus, Jesus called him over and gave him sight, and without the condition of following his teaching. But Bart did follow Jesus. And hopefully, the crowd, and the Note Writer, learns that love, not judgment, is the key to grace.

To the person who left me this note: Next time, speak to me. Put your beliefs in the light and assign yourself to them. If you truly are a follower of Christ, there would be no need to hide behind the anonymity of an unsigned note. You should have the strength of heart to be a true messenger. My prayer for you is that your faith begins to sprout from love instead of the kind of anger only 4-year-old bumper sticker can arouse.

But don’t worry. I won’t vote for Obama again.

P.S. It really is creepy to watch me and leave a note on my car, so let’s just also keep that in mind when evangelizing, ‘kay?

can’t tell me nothing

In Communication, Relationships, Technology on July 21, 2015 at 6:53 pm

I have no idea who reads this blog. I don’t know how many people read it. I know there are analytics and metrics and they are easy to understand, but I just don’t care. I like having people read my writing, but I would still do this if no one read it but me (and my mom, who is contractually obligated to love everything I do). I don’t care how many people follow me on Twitter or Instagram. The threat to cancel subscriptions that would shake the boots of newspaper editorial staffs have lost their power in the age of free information (and free misinformation). I don’t get dollars for followers, so unfollowing, following back, all the status of social media is lost on me.

BUT (I like big buts and I cannot lie – sorry, couldn’t help myself): I am always bemused by the fact that the men I date have one thing in common (and truly only one thing). None of them read (past or present tense) my blog.

It used to bother me – look at this perfectly simple way to internet-stalk/gather counter-intelligence/bask in my brilliance! Men complain they don’t know what women want or what they are thinking, and here I am putting it on this easy-to-read design template. Granted, there are no pictures, but there are at least a couple dick/poop/tampon jokes (that is the grossest collection of slashes ever). And really – if he likes me as much as he says he does, why wouldn’t he support my completely non-profitable venture?

Until a couple nights ago, when I was reminded of the observation that if, for example, you get a rash every time you eat shellfish, maybe it’s not just a bunch of bad shellfish. Maybe it’s you. If you have a lot of friends who take advantage of your time and energy, maybe it’s not that you’ve happened upon horrible friends but because you are attracting them to you. It was time to contemplate why this single similarity tied together the (number redacted because it’s none of your business) men I’ve dated.

My theory about readers developing crushes on my words was confirmed when I wrote a sports blog for All of a sudden, emails and Twitter DMs (google it, mom) were pouring in with phone numbers and requests for “just a chat about sports over beers.” If my ego wasn’t already so inflated, I would have been flattered. But I suspected that a crush on my words did not translate to a crush on me. There is a distinct voice to my writing but it’s not necessarily my voice – or at least it’s only a portion of it. This voice is cultivated and uses regularly and is expressed with an indistinct audience of me (writers write what they want to read) and a nebulous population of at least semi-anonymous readers in mind. My words are an orderly collection of sentiments meant to entertain.

But me? I’m not orderly at all. I’m chaotic and messy and mercurial, not just by diagnosis but by temperament as well. It’s not just my moods that ebb and flow and rise and fall. My house is usually a mess; my playlist goes from Kanye West to Conway Twitty; I’m alternately sentimental and emotion-phobic. In the words of Walt Whitman,”Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself; (I am large, I contain multitudes).” There is a dialectic of complicated simplicity to my nature that results in great frustration but, ironically, comfort, since all of those Jenga pieces still fit back together even after they splay over the game table.

I can’t be sure, but I’d like to think that the men I date like me, the person, and my writing doesn’t have the reckless quality of my human form. There’s something to like – something he has to like – about my agitated life that wouldn’t be sated by a few hundred words every few weeks or months. And even if he was a faithful follower, there would be a discomfiture between the woman he knows and the words he reads… an uncertainty that sometimes confuses even me.

Then again, maybe dating me is more than enough exposure to theworldofdale. In any case, it means I get to write about them and they’ll never know.

yes. women are funny.

In Communication, Relationships on July 8, 2015 at 9:21 pm

Another white man is talking about the rare and elusive “funny woman” (as the endangered beast is commonly identified). It’s happened before and if you don’t know about the instances to which I’m referring, let me summarize: women aren’t funny. beautiful women really aren’t funny. funny women aren’t beautiful.

I tend to ignore this noise because I only care about if people personally find me funny and if their brand of comedy is Jeff Foxworthy or Dane Cook or whatever that shit is that Chuck Lorre makes, then I’ll go ahead and let them be wrong in their own little world.

But I’ve broken my silence because widespread falsehoods are a pet peeve of mine. A former boss described me as having a justice gene – I can’t just sit by and let things go to shit without trying to do something about it. The good news is that my justice gene is easily sated and a blog post is sufficient to quiet the hungry growl of integrity tying knots in my stomach.

Women are funny. Funny women are beautiful. As a stand-up junkie, I’m well aware of stunning comics like Nikki Glaser, Jen Kirkman, Aisha Tyler, Kelly Oxford… you get the point. These are gorgeous women. If you just saw pictures of them, you’d think, wow, that chick’s hot. They could model. And for the benefit of the Adam Carollas of the world, these are your societal beauty standards examples. There are plenty of other gorgeous stand-up comics, writers, and performers.

Beautiful women are funny. Read an interview with Mila Kunis, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Kendrick… these women, known for making us mere mortals wear paper bags over our heads in deference, are hilarious. I would gladly friend-date any of these women and totally forget that they have the freakish beauty normally associated with exotic flowers or a Jaguar C-type.

After much contemplation as to why the concept that women aren’t funny has become so prevalent, I was hit with a eureka moment.

It’s not that women aren’t funny. It’s that men don’t like women to be funny.

The theme of most “women aren’t funny” arguments is that women like different kind of jokes. Softer, gentler jokes, with a story and the humor of a sly pun or unexpected irony. Women, it seemed, just weren’t capable of what’s actually funny. The kind of funny that only men can produce: dirty jokes. In the world of stand-up, it’s called working blue. Andrew Dice Clay (incidentally, one of my mother’s favorite comedians) is the personification of blue jokes. When people say women aren’t funny, they mean they aren’t blue-funny.

Men don’t like it when women are blue-funny. They don’t like it when they are blue at all. Women aren’t supposed to be graphic. They’re supposed to be demure. They are supposed to perform the soft, soothing comedy of food jokes (see DeGeneres, E. & Poundstone, P. – who are excellent and hilarious, by the way) that the audience is comfortable with – because a lot of women don’t like women working blue either.

We are at a point in America where a woman can be required to endure a trans-vaginal ultrasound to undergo a private medical procedure and, at the same time, saying tampon in mixed company will result in a male cringe registering 7.0 on the Richter scale. We are at a point where merely mentioning that I was on the toilet when I hit my head on the sink left the men in the room shuddering at the thought of a female expending waste. My sense of humor is blue with a side of black (there’s some dark, sick jokes that roll around in my dirty little brain). I see firsthand, albeit on a much smaller scale, what Amy Schumer encounters – the discomfort with an attractive woman who swears like a sailor and confesses sins as a raconteur instead of a shamed heathen.

Men have long been unable to bear the burdens women encounter daily. I’ve watched grown men physically fight over one yelling across the street at the other, but when the guys across the street advise me that they like me better when I’m thick, I move on with what is a regular day. Men can rarely withstand the onus of emotions, so they compartmentalize them into the office, the gym, the bottle, the laptop – whatever is convenient and accommodating of their immersion. The way men complain about a kidney stone indicates they have forgotten that there are women doing essentially the same thing EVERY DAY in order to CONTINUE HUMAN EXISTENCE. But by all means, tell me more about your urethra rock.

I’ve sat at many a table filled with women telling side-splitting stories about every filthy topic you can imagine and many you can’t. The games of “Would You Rather?” I played with my grad-school girlfriends would shock & awe Howard Stern. At long last, Bridesmaids and Inside Amy Schumer are among the beacons of hilarity in the testosterone pool of blue-funny. Society is finally coming to terms with the fact that women poop. We are tiptoeing cautiously into the nearly infinite world of ridiculously sublime tales of sexual absurdity.

We have reached the edge of the bonfire where I told the guys who couldn’t handle my whiskey my favorite joke:

Three tampons are walking towards you. Which one talks to you – the one on the right, the one on the left, or the one in the middle?

None of them. They’re all stuck up cunts.


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