The Click

THE CLICK

Unprecedented times we live in now…
Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram
“News” spreads quick like a runaway virus
Burns wide and far like summer fire…..

Wind!
Comes in from all directions
The East, the West, the North, the South
The Catholics, the Jews, the Muslims, the Atheists
Beirut, New York,Paris, Hong Kong
Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers, Drop outs….

HEADLINES!

Grab revenue and 5 thousand “likes”
In one hour…..

The frenzy, the punches, the flames
The sizzle, the snap, the trolls
The judges, the scholars
The ill-informed, the passionate
The lonely, the wise, the show-offs
The greedy, the arrogant, the sweet

The words….
The danger…

The CLICK.

The Musing of a 60 Something…..

I’ve been around the block. Many times. Walking, running, skipping, dragging my feet. I’ve stopped at  the wrong stoops because a door was bright and shiny.

Big Bold Red.  “Oh boy, let’s go in!”

I allowed myself to be led by those who are not good leaders when I was empty and cared little about what I drank to fill up the moaning void.

I have regrets.

Little ones like paper cuts and ones that rip to the bone. I cover up scars with deference and proper shoes.

But, here’s a bigger point.

I am damned lucky for this reason. God willing, I still have a few decades left to wander this earth with my eyes open.  I can think and reflect on what’s important; keeping love close, taking care of the little things; writing a note to friends over the miles to say, I remember you, I think about you, I  care.  I can still rummage around in the bottom drawer of my life and find a little humor, a little gift there.  I can buy new sheets for my bed but not another car and treasure climbing into bed with my dog and cat. I can forgive those who misunderstood and ask for forgiveness. I can hold myself accountable, dive deep into the water and find every answer there. If I look. I can choose to be humble, to know, that pride is a crumbling bride that trips on her white veil. I can ask for God, even in my sleep. I can shed the ugly skin of abuse and ignorance for something new and shiny to be born.

I am lucky. Really really lucky. I don’t know why, exactly, but somewhere, someone, out there, believes in me because things happen in my life that are inexplicable, like a friendly tap on your shoulder, exactly at the time you need one.
Like a falling star in the black of night, then ten more……

MRI

Went to the ER on Sunday to rule out having a stroke. The MRI was an event, in and of itself. If you never have had an MRI , it’s like entering a construction zone. Think Jack Hammers interspersed with high pitched beeps and Woody the Woodpecker on steroids pounding away on a metal roof. The worse part was the technician telling me, “don’t swallow in there – we need good pictures of your carotid artery and it will interfere with getting them.” 20 minutes flat on my back with post nasal drips hanging like raindrops on the lip of your roof. Go ahead and try it sometime. Step outside and order those collected drops to stay put. My first swallow was accompanied with the thought, “oh shit, I just swallowed.” The second time, it was, “oh fuck, I can’t help it.” The third, “I wonder if they are getting good pictures of my carotid artery in between the swallows.” I stopped counting after ten. Twenty minutes could be twenty hours inside an MRI bullet. I am a fidgety person by nature, hard wired to keep moving, so I had to come up with things to keep myself from freaking out. The song “Purple Rain” began playing in my head, and then the thought, “turn this off, Prince died, this isn’t going to help you.” So, then I tried “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and the thought, “oh shit, get this song out of my head.” And then, presto, I came up with the genius solution to count the thumps and the beeps and I found my rhythm. 9 loud thumps followed by 6 sets of 8 high pitched beeps repeated to the point where I lost count. That’s when I thought of Lena Dunham and the episode of Girls where her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder took over her brain and she began counting everything 8 times. For me, that episode of girls was more terrifying that the finality of Breaking Bad when (spoiler alert!) Bryant Cranston’s gun explodes from his trunk, going berserk-o on everything inside the house. Lena Dunham managed to cope with some unnamed horror by counting and dammit, if it worked for her, I would make it work for me. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat, then, BOOM, the magic happened! The noises stopped, the room went quiet like a chorus of crickets gone mute, the feeling of the earth, in this case, a metal bullet with me tucked inside, sliding forward, back into the light of the world. It was like being born. Done. Over with. Nothing left to do but wait to hear what the insides of my brain looked like.

Fighting with Strangers on Facebook 

Have you ever read the comment section on a BREAKING NEWS article on Facebook? I subscribe to a bunch of major news rags  there because, basically, I am lazy and too cheap to subscribe to an actual newspaper that would require me to walk out to my driveway to pick up. Anyway, the best part of  getting your “news” on Facebook is reading the comments section beneath the headliner.  It’s entertainment at its best and interesting to read the varying opinions of your average everyday American, who, apparently, feel the need to weigh in on whether or not Bill Cosby is guilty or innocent of drugging and molesting a countless number of women, of whose fault it is that ISIS is wacking off heads and of course, being an election year, why progressive democrats should support Hillary in the event she “steals” the nomination from Bernie, because, better her, who they currently hate and call a hypocrite and thief, than an “evil” republican! I must admit, sometimes, I want to jump in there with my two cents but mostly, I don’t, because, then I will be checking Facebook  off and on all day to see if anyone has responded to my comment  and if they disagree with me, of course, be required to fight back. So, I  practice restraint and tell myself this is honorable when in fact, I hate being wrong and I know if I “get in there” I am going to get my fingers bloodied up, pounding on the keyboard. I also think the majority of those who engage in Headline Wars on Facebook, have way too much time on their hands, have never written an actual letter to the editor of a real newspaper, nor made the debate team in high school, you know, someone just like me. 

PLATITUDES: 3 x’s daily, Morning, Noon and Night

Good Morning Friends!

Is anyone else out there in facebook land tired of the daily platitudes that land in your news feed like a fly on your favorite cupcake? These platitudes are like multi-vitamins: ” take one or two each morning to supplement your crappy diet.” I don’t take vitamins. No judgment for those who do but I personally think this multi-billion dollar industry is a lot of huff and puff. For example, my bone density test from last week shows no decline from 5 years ago when they told me I would have severe osteoporosis if I didn’t take fosamax. I don’t need to feed Big Pharma to maintain my bones anymore than I need Depak Chopra to bump up my spiritual anemia. A brisk walk a few times around the block with my dog each morning and eating my spinach seemed to do the trick!

This morning’s platitude on Facebook was: “Get rid of your negative friends; they will ruin your joy!” Really? I happen to like “negative people” – you know, those ones who don’t want to shove “spirituality” down my throat, like the doctor who insisted I take fosamax or be bent over like the hunchback of Notre Dame in 5 years. These sayings make you feel better? That’s wonderful. I am happy for you. But, “sharing” them 10 times a day on facebook feels like I’m getting repeatedly dunked in baptismal waters to wash away that damned original sin. I’m a Catholic, for God’s sake – once was enough! Back off and think twice before eating the fosamax.

Need Advice? 

No worries, you will get all the advice you will ever need  by going to facebook, where every question about  god, politics, water shortages, foreign governments, death, fracking, the 10  best coffee house from Maine to the Maryland, who to vote for in the next election, kale, immortality, monarch butterflies and how to pick the perfect partner for your blood type, is right there, waiting for you!  Why spend your precious time thinking or reading, when someone a hell of a lot smarter has done it for you and it’s just one silly click away!               

What’s Your Sign?

BORN, a scorpio

It dawns on me that people born under the zodiac sign of “scorpio” should launch a class action suit against, um, the Greeks? If there was a  study it would show that folks born under this sign suffer a statistically significant amount of negative remarks and reactions than all other signs  combined!

Here’s an  example . You’re at a lavish holiday party in downtown Los Angeles and the conversation goes something like this,

“Hi, I’m Ambrosia, isn’t this a fabulous party? Oh, and by the way, I’m a Pices!” There are cheers and someone chirps…”Oh, I love Pices Peeps!”

Someone decide this is a fun party game and doesn’t waste time…..

“Hi, I’m Mona and I’m a Leo!” More cheers and claps…..”Oh, Leo’s so rule! Can I be your BFF?”

next up…..

“Hey, My name’s Dana and I’m a Libra!” Standing ovation throughout the room and wild clapping…..

“Oh you libras are so balanced and creative! Will you help me decorate my living room, pleaaaaaasee?”

“Well, I guess it’s my turn! I’m Nikki and I’m a gemini.” Nine bobbing heads in approval.

“Oh yes, you guys are so interesting, always understanding either side of a story. Can you help me figure out my in-laws, I’ll pay you!” Wild ascending laughter….

“Hey, you, over there, tell us your name and sign.”

“Oh, sure, okay, um, my name is Opal and I am a scorpio.”

Awkward silence followed by….

“OMG, has anyone tried that amazing humus dip. , it’s crazy good, ladies!”

The sound of six inch heels clicking across the shiny hardwood floor, like a bevy of reindeer hoofs.

Opal, an Aquarian, says to self: “Thank you, Scorpio, for helping me out here….”

 

XX + XY = XYYY

I saw a picture of the pop star, Rhianna, today at a red carpet event and she is wearing a dress designed by Tom Ford that essentially shows bare breasts with a cluster of purple jeweled pasties over her nipples and it got me to thinking. Why is it that almost every designer who “dresses” movie stars, celebrities, the wives of presidents and prime ministers are almost always men? Are there no qualified female designers? Having watched a handful of seasons of Project Runway, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Why do we women continue to give most of our dollars to male designers? If 50% of our population was comprised of minorities; and less than 1%, were represented in the media, the music industry, on college campuses, in sports, education, what have you, we would be screaming at the top of our lungs, and rightfully so. But, when it comes to equal representation in certain industries in work world, women are underrepresented.

We hear the same tired excuses. Women are torn between career and family. Women’s clocks are ticking. They require maternity leave. Oh, to give birth to a boy who possibly will get a job her daughter can’t?

There are many examples of female designers who have balanced families and work, including Ms. Karan, Cynthia Rowley and Cynthia Steffe. Dana Buchman built a business with an estimated $150 million in annual sales over 19 years with the philosophy that she shares the lifestyle of a working mother and career woman with her customers. Yet, her success has been little reflected in the news media compared with some designers who have barely started selling clothes. Why is this? 93% of graduates at Parson’s School of Design in NYC are women and 85% of students currently enrolled at FIT, are also women yet young American designers most embraced by retailers and celebrated in the fashion press in recent years, is almost exclusively male: Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriquez, Mr. Som, Proenza Schoeuler, to name a few. So, how do we account for the staggering gender disparities we continue to see in the 21st century? A few explanations….

“In the 1920’s and 30’s, there were many female designers – Alix Grès, Elsa Schiaparelli and Chanel – but after World War II, the big names were male – Bill Blass, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin. Ms. Steele of F.I.T. said the change could be attributed to the evolving role of women in society, from one of strength and independence before the war to the postwar ideal of a feminine mystique” (NYTimes, 2014)

Goodbye Rosie the Riveter, Hello Barbie?

Ms Steele continues, “There are all of these unexamined and frankly invalid ideas that still seem to be bandied about….but the perception that all good designers are men……is totally unprovable.”

In restaurant world, we see similar disparities between male and female chefs. It seems especially ironic, given that females have been feeding men, women and children almost exclusively since the beginning of time, that they are so unrepresented in culinary world. Men overwhelmingly hold the highest paying and most prominent kitchen jobs at ambitious, independent restaurants across America…..10 out of 160 head chef positions at 15 prominent U.S. restaurant groups analyzed by Bloomberg, are women. “Such stats are surprising given the strong female presence at two of the country’s most prestigious cooking schools. Women have made up over 40 percent of the International Culinary Center’s classic graduates for the past decade.” (Bloomberg)

What will change these trends? Women standing up, talking, educating one another, sharing stories and maybe most importantly, understanding the power of the purse, the almighty American dollar.

In My Opinion…..

When someone offers their opinion on a subject, does it NOT go without saying, that it is, in fact, their opinion? When you say, ” the trees the city planted along highway one are not in sync with the rest of the landscaping” why would you need to add “in my opinion” at the end of the sentence or preface the sentence with, “in my opinion.” If it were someone else’s opinion, say Queen Elizabeth’s, wouldn’t you credit her, appropriately? “The queen hates palm trees! It’s the talk of the town in London since her visit to Arizona.” While I understand this may seem like an insignificant problem when you weigh it against larger literary blunders, , such as, “irregardless” for “regardless” or “their” for “they’re”, nonetheless, I think it’s worth mentioning, don’t you? But then again, it’s just my opinion!

EXPRESS YOUSELF

It occurs to me that the advice we often hear “express yourself” might, upon reflection, deserve some “self” reflection. For starters, it might be helpful to think about what it actually means to “express yourself”. If you are 80 years old, 200 lbs and walking about town in a large print mini skirt, with huge pockets and black patent leather Mary Janes, one might ask: are you expressing the spirit of your 80 year old self or the sad longing for that spunky 13 year old from 1946? Helen, time to let her go! Don’t get me wrong – I love both the old and eccentric. I had a 92 year old neighbor named Jane, who used to terrify us daily, buzzing about the complex, in her burgundy motorized wheel chair, blowing both kisses and her kid-sized horn at her husband, Morrie, whenever he got a few steps ahead of her. Her leopard lap blanket would snag the bushes when she took a corner and by the end of her morning rounds, she would have half the shrubs in the neighborhood attached to her. Jane, as it turned out, had bi-polar disorder. Jane was expressing herself! Think it over. The next time you google “fashion trends” for 2015, is it YOU wanting to express who YOU are or YOU expressing who Calvin Klein says you should be , keeping in mind, Mr. Klein is dining on his yacht in the South Pacific while you are officially in credit card debt, thanks to that hot pink cashmere jacket Calvin claimed – A MUST HAVE FOR 2015!