I am a member of a local food coop, and one of the perks is a monthly newsletter filled with recipes, food tips and CRAZY!!!! I've known many people who have worked at this coop, and nearly every single one of them ended up scarred by the experience. I had always wondered why...until I started actually reading the newsletter.
Below are some gems specially selected from the newsletter to make you puke in your mouth, and hate foodies just a little bit more. I've added my own responses, because obviously the coop is going to try to placate these people...at the expense of their own employee's mental health.
Kindly advise your cashiers not to shove food towards customers in an effort to make them bag groceries more quickly. It's a bit indecorous. Those items are food that we've spent our hard-earned money to buy. It feels a bit like being mistreated. I know you don't employ baggers in order to keep costs low, and I have no problem with bagging (in fact I enjoy it) but a note to the cashiers: patience please. - Signed "Don't Shove It"
Dear Shove It.
Seriously, this is your complaint? The bagger PUSHES the food toward you? Oh the HORROR!! Did you ever think that there might be other reasons for it beyond it's use to keep you from dicking around the bagging area and clogging up the place? Yes, in fact, the cashiers "shove" the food to (wait for it...wait for it) keep it from getting mixed up with the food of the customer who is being checked out while you're taking your sweet time putting your groceries in those fancy, organic cotton bags you just paid 20 bucks a piece for. Now, here's something actual for your martyr complex...fuck off.
We're a stones throw from some of the best organic and conventional apples in the country, and every apple in the stores is from AZ, WA, CA, even MX!!! What gives? - Signed Apples
Most of our apples are locally grown, why don't you OPEN YOUR GODDAMNED EYES AND READ THE SIGNS? Yes, we know it's hard because everything has to have a dozen signs on it labeling everything from allergy cautions, place of origin, the wages of the people who produced it and whether or not it is family friendly because you asshats claim it's TOO HARD to find these things on the packaging...so we post signs upon signs upon signs that no one reads because they're everyfuckwhere.
How is it justifiable to charge such high prices - especially during a recession? - signed High Prices
Dear High Prices:
Did you know that the coop is actually a BUSINESS, and that a main component of staying in business is taking in REVENUE (psst..that means money)? In fact, the coop is in the food business and as a result must be housed in a building, have access to electricity and water. The coop must also hire people to service your complaining ass. All of these things cost MONEY. In order to get that money the coop must SELL goods for prices higher than what they paid for those goods. Yes, there is a recession but that does not mean the costs of keeping our doors open do not decrease. Our GOODS cost MORE because they are made in smaller amounts, have a higher quality and well...did we mention that we like to pay our employees? If you do not want to pay for the ACTUAL VALUE of the food your are consuming, I suggest you take your sorry ass to Walmart, there you can get all the cheap crap you could ever want. Robots and/or children make it, so you won't be subsidising their wages.
1. Paperwork. Everyone gets a ballot and a copy of the drinking game rules (new for '09)
2. Roll out a red carpet. Yes, I have one. It's from Ikea, and does have white and orange stripes on either end, but it's mostly red, which is good enough for me. (this party is the reason why I picked that rug)
3. I alert the paparazzi, who never show because we're abnormal people who don't get the recognition we deserve. So, I set up a strobe light facing the door to simulate the experience for my guests.
4. I make an assload of hors d'ouvres. I LOVE finger food, and this is my only chance to make a meal of it. This is when I start drinking mimosas.
5. I remove all knick knacks from around the television.
6. I ball my socks. Then I wash them, and fold the pairs together into little balls. These are what we use to express our contempt for the films, the celebrities, the interviewers, the dresses, the suits, etc. etc. Basically the only time socks aren't flying through the air is when they do the roll call of the dead, unless it's someone we REALLY hate.
Of course, for the entirety of these preperations I am also watching the pre-show red carpet events. I hate that shit, the stupid interviewers and the pat responses. But I love hating it...so I'll have downed an entire bottle of champange by the time the show starts. Guests arrive right before the beginning of the actual show, so they don't have to see my shame. Yes, I do have other people join me.
Care to join us from the comfort of your own home? Invite some friends, ball some socks and let'er rip!
Oh, and here are the drinking game rules...
The Vomit Carpet - Oscars Drinking Game
1 drink -
botox or obvious cosmetic surgery
cut off speech
Jack Nicholson in sunglasses or with much younger girlfriend
mispronunciation/can't read teleprompter
goes on with speech in spite of cut-off music
stumbles up stairs/on stage
joke falls flat
goes wrong direction, needs guidance off stage
says "I didn't expect this" and then pulls out prepared comments
host/presenter argues that recipient should be allowed to go on with speech after cut-off music starts
5 drinks (or the entire bottle as this is a sign of the end times)
John Waters wins best picture, best director or life time achievement award
If you are the adult in a family that makes real food for the adults and chicken fingers for the kids, I ask you this "Why do you make your own job harder?" Did you know that chicken fingers are just REALLY REALLY TERRIBLE breaded chicken? Did you know that you are actually HARMING YOUR CHILDREN when you feed them this crap? You do know that a kid who goes to bed without dinner for ONE NIGHT, will be pretty fucking hungry the next day and will eat whatever food you make, including the cold leftovers of the meal they wouldn't eat the night before. Look at starving people for chrissakes, those poor bastards linger for days if not weeks so I'm pretty sure it's fine if your precious prince(ss) goes without for a night.
20. The Breast Feeding Mafia
You people infuriate me.
A. I don't get to whip my funbags out for any reason, even if it's REALLY FUCKING HOT. Why should you get to, simply because you have an infant attached to them?
B. Why can't you throw a blanket over your shoulder, boob and baby? The kid doesn't care, all the kid wants is a full tummy and a dry diaper. You might say that adults don't cover their heads when they eat, which is true for the most part. However, when I eat in public, I do cover my boobs.
C. Since it is so natural shouldn't you be celebrating ALL revealment of the human body? Low rise pants, spaghetti strap tank tops, prostitots, whale tales, teenage boy's underwear, Daisy Dukes, Victoria's Secret displays, public nudity...surely you find NONE of these things offensive as they are all ways of displaying the natural wonders of the human body.
D. Yes, breast milk is best for the baby...blah blah b-snooooore. That said, NOT EVERYONE CAN BREASTFEED. While you're having feed-in's at Starbucks (why are you drinking their high fat fake coffee beverages while you're breastfeeding anyway?), going on an on about how great you are for sacrificing your nipples to do the very best for your child, and how everyone on the planet should be forced to birth and breast feed a child because you were not a real person until you did, imagine how guilty and terrible a mother who can't breast feed must feel. Amazingly enough, she also wants the best for her child, and goes out of her way to prepare nutritious food for her infant and make sure it's healthy and sound. Seriously, what's next, telling a quadriplegic they're a bad person for not jogging to lose weight like you did? Quit judging people who are doing the best they can with their limitations.
E. Do you seriously have nothing better to do than post pictures of yourselves breastfeeding on FaceBook? You accepted the TOS when you made your page, and accepted the fact that FaceBook is the owner of your space. Suck it up and accept that the owners of the FaceBook property might not want to deal with the implications of a bunch of naked boobs on property which is accessible to people of ALL ages and beliefs. If you really must to post your breastfeeding pics, why not make your own social networking site? Call it BoobBook, or FaceBoob, or MyBoob...whatever and post all the boob pics you want. Anyway, did you know there is a site where you can post boobs, bellies, stretch marks and afterbirth? It's called Shape Of A Mother, check it out if that's what you REALLY want. (oh, by the way, if your naked breast is mostly covered by a baby, you are not violating the TOS, which I believe disallows an ENTIRE NAKED BREAST, so legit breast feeding pics shouldn't be a problem, should they?)
21. Corporate CEO's
Up. Against. The. Wall. Mother. Fuckers. Do you run a giant multi-national corporation that is now failing due to the economic collapse created by giant multi-national corporations? FUCK YOU AND DIE. Seriously, DIE. If I EVER have the opportunity to recognise one of you assclowns on the street, I will punch you in the face...if you're lucky. You are shit wrapped in skin that wastes the air of the rest of the hard working people of the world. You are King Dick of Shit Mountain, and instead of a government REWARD for your BAD BUSINESS PRACTICES, you should have just gotten a handjob with a fish scaling glove.
I don't understand why no one who voted to reward these fuckwits gets this ...THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE, it is THEIR FAULT we are in this mess, and THEY SHOULD PAY. WE should at the very least get the SATISFACTION of seeing their doughy faces frog marched into ASS RAPE PRISON because, simply put, if I know when my spending money is getting to the "you've got barely enough money for lunch at Taco Bell" point, then I STOP SPENDING MY GODDAMNED MONEY. I don't wait until I've lost my apartment, car, and everything I own. A person who makes MILLIONS of dollars a year should have this simple concept down pat.
21. Sarah Palin
Is there some reason why you still plague us with your stupid presence? I mean, I know the reason, you are an attention whore who has managed to get a bit of real estate on the national stage so you're going to milk that for all it's worth. But, don't you have like...an entire state to govern, a daughter who is a single mother and a family with a special needs child to help raise? Whatever, you're unwed mother of a daughter isn't going to be getting married, because Levi doesn't have to now since you won't be VicePresident. I'd recommend now that if you want to continue to torment us with your stupid presence, have access to expensive clothes and a growing political careear, you'd best get divorced in a couple years. No news organizations are going to continue to go to the expense to fly their correspondents all the way to Fuck Alaska to ask you trick questions about what you read (seriously, you couldn't even LIE and name ONE SINGLE PRINTED PUBLICATION?). Also, you should probably put in the papers soon, because you don't want it to be fresh news when you make your run in 2012. Enjoy that.
That said, were you a person who supported Sarah Palin because she's so "folksy" and "plain spoken" and "just like me"? You are wrong on all counts. Sarah Palin is none of these things, she's a candy bar heiress beauty queen who can't talk good. She is not like you, she is the popular rich girl in school who got everything she wanted, and had to go to 5 different colleges to get a single bachelor's degree. I don't want to bust your bubble, but you, me and Sarah Palin are not people who should be a heart beat away from the most powerful position in the world.
22. Ads for things I have no say in
I have no say in where I get my electrical service, what pills I get prescribed, what insurance company insures me...in fact MOST people do not have any say in these things. Why then, do these entities WASTE MONEY ON ADVERTISING? Why spend the money to advertise drugs that people don't get to just buy in the drug store? Or spend the money to advertise drugs for conditions that only a small percentage of the population has? I have no say where I get my electricity, so why does the electric company feel the need to inform me of their existence on television? Isn't the monthly bill enough? And who the hell has a choice about their insurance? Most private people I know who buy their own will go for the best value, which is not something EVER mentioned in the ads. People who have employer sponsored insurance rarely get to choose between companies. Even if they do, there is NOTHING in the advertising that would say one way or another if that's a company that's going to try to fuck you out of what you've paid in for.
On that note, why do I have to see multiple commercials for cars, candy, fast food, cleaning products, whatever EVERY commercial break? I highly doubt there is a person who goes "Ford? They make cars?! Why I've never knew!", "Coca Cola is a fizzy beverage that gets you high!" or "A fast food place called Taco Bell serves mexican-esque food?!! Who would have thunk?!" Maybe, instead of spending most of their money on informing us of their (already known) existence 185 times a day, they could spend a little more on paying their employees (not the fucking CEO's) living wages...gee, ya think?
The holidays were uneventful and quiet. All of my cousins are over the age of 19, and none have sprogged, so that was nice. No family drama, no one was ill, the weather was weathery, in all I have no complaints which makes for a rather boring post. I did get a wonderful gift from my family in that my cousin, who got married at the age of 20 to her high school sweetheart, and her husband are definitely child free (for now? I hope not). I'd suspected for a while that she was, but never heard her husband say anything on the subject until this holiday. I just overheard him say in response to a question I didn't hear "No, we're not having kids", and would have jumped up, hugged him and said "Congratulations! You both will be SOO HAPPY!" if it wouldn't have seemed so awkward and inappropriate. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to hanging out with them and having a fine old time at her brother's wedding this summer.
I do have a small list of idiot bombs...but I just don't have enough of a raging hate-on to really rip 'em good. However ALL CEO's and Sarah Palin can go to hell together, and companies that run ad campaigns for things I have no choice in (electricity?) can join them.
Oh, and a big ol' YAY to Culver's for making it easy for their consumers to recycle the plastics that are a part of every fast food meal. Custard? Mashed potatoes? A variety of foods? Now plastic recycling? This will be my only fast food choice from here on out.
Unspoil Your Child (Yes, for chrissakes, do something, ANYTHING to keep the rest of us from having to deal with the resultant coddled, entitled "adult"!)
A trinket here. A toy there. Somehow it's all adding up to a kid who expects to get whatever she asks for. Here's how to unspoil your child. (mmmm, giving them crap once in a while does not equal a spoiled child...not setting boundaries, saying "no" and trying to be their best friend does.)By Marisa Cohen
Who hasn't bought a few moments of peace from a screaming toddler with a lollipop or splurged on a pair of sneakers just to hear your son say, "Mom, you're the best!" (Really? You bribe your kids to love you? Wow. Just, Wow.) When you're busy or stressed, it's tempting to buy your 2-year-old that stuffed pony just so you can get through Wal-Mart without the Embarrassing Public Tantrum (My parents let me throw the tantrum, and then removed me from the store, there's nothing a store has that is so important that it couldn't be obtained tomorrow - or without me). Or let your kid eat candy and bread for dinner so you can eat your own fish and veggies in peace. (My parents just said "No, you get what we get. If you don't like it now, maybe you'll like it better for breakfast tomorrow when you're really hungry. Now go to your room.") But if your child rarely has to wait between "I want it" and "I have it," then he may be missing out on the chance to develop the emotional tools he'll need to be a happy and successful adult (Whaaa? You don't say?!). “When your child doesn't have the opportunity to deal with the little disappointments in life by your saying no to her, you may be giving her poor preparation for dealing with the small or large difficulties that may come her way," says Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D. (AKA Captain Obvious), author of Spoiling Childhood: How Well-Meaning Parents Are Giving Children Too Much — But Not What They Need It's not too far a stretch to see how a child who is given every new video game the day it comes out can develop into an adult who gets frustrated when he isn't given the corner office on his first day of work (and ends up shooting up the place when he doesn't get an advance on his paycheck, or when that bitch in accounting turns him down for a date), notes Steven Friedfeld, a family therapist in New York City. But you can put an end to the gimmes — whether it's your child's inflated holiday list or her insistence on treats or snacks as prepayment for good behavior. Here's how to go about implementing the despoiling process: (and hey, good luck with that, if you need total strangers to tell you to use common sense, this probably isn't going to do you, and by default society, a lick of good)
STEP 1: Acknowledge where the problem starts.
As much as we hate to admit it, spoiling is mostly about us parents: "We often try to compensate for what we didn't have as children, to assure ourselves that our children love us, or to make up for any parental guilt we feel," (Since we're starting at the basics, don't have children to feel loved or to make up for the upbringing you are dissatisfied with - have children because you want the JOB of PARENTING) says Ehrensaft. Teresa Sellinger, a mother of three in Sparta, NJ, readily agrees with this: "I came from a huge family and grew up wearing hand-me-downs," she says. "So I'm always buying my daughters the most stylish, matching outfits to wear to school. I know that's more about my issues than theirs!" (And the problem with hand-me-down's is? I grew up wearing HOMEMADE clothes. Get over yourself, and realize that your parents were probably being sensible and living within their means.) Giving your kids whatever new gizmo they want as soon as they want it is also a way to show off how successful you are, both financially and as a supermom. How many times have you heard a mom "complain" about how many Webkinz her kid has, as she simultaneously glows in the knowledge that she was able to buy them for her? Try to figure out where your need to spoil is coming from (and here's the nugget of truth in the lie, it's not really a need to spoil...it's a need to one-up everyone else by showing off that YOU obviously love your children MORE because you are willing to go into debt to show everyone how successful you are as a...uhhh...a...what exactly?). Ask yourself a series of questions: Are you tired, overstressed, and trying to find a quick-fix solution? Are you feeling guilty for not spending enough time with your kids? Are you getting more of a kick out of this gift than your child is? Once you figure out what's driving your tendency to spoil your kids, you'll be better able to kick the habit. (When you stop being superficial, and take the time to teach your children there is more to a person than their clothes and toys, then you might not have children who insist on having the latest crap to one-up their peers the way you feel you need to one-up your neighbors.)
STEP 2: Set rules and consequences.
There is a slippery slope in parenting, where the initial "If you behave, I'll buy you a treat" turns into "Here, take this treat, and hopefully you'll behave." (Is there some problem with "I expect you to behave. If you misbehave there are consequences. If you behave in an extraordinary manner, you might just get a treat."? In real life, people do not get extra rewards for doing what they are expected to do, they get extra rewards for going beyond expectations.) To wean your child off this demand-reward pattern, you'll have to set the new rules in stone (or try setting them BEFORE your child becomes a demanding ass). "Observe your child for a few days to notice when she is really being demanding and refusing to take no for an answer — whether it's with staying up past her bedtime, asking for new toys, or wanting candy," suggests Lisa Forman, a family counselor in Sleepy Hollow, NY (Like I said, have rules because no one obeys rules that don't exist). Let's say you recognize a pattern: Your daughter refuses to sit still at the dinner table unless she is promised her favorite dessert (Wow, I only got dessert away from home). The next step is to come up with a rule and a realistic consequence — such as taking away TV or computer privileges — for her behavior, keeping in mind your child's age and tolerance level. And make sure your partner's on board with the new plan; kids are experts at playing one parent off the other (Here's a hint, BEFORE you have children, see if your partner's on board, then come to an agreement as to how you will raise your children BEFORE having them.). Then, sit down and explain the rules to your child: "In our house, we get ice cream on Friday night if we have behaved at dinner all week. If there is whining for candy during dinner, you will lose the ice cream privilege." Ask your child to repeat it back to you to make sure she understands — or better yet, make a chart together that she can decorate with stickers each time she follows the rules. (Most people I know in my age bracket and older were not rewarded for merely behaving. Rewards are only required to instill good behavior in a people who have been set up to expect to be rewarded for behaving in a socially acceptable manner.)
STEP 3: Don't justify your decisions.
The other night, I told my 4-year-old daughter that she couldn't have any cookies before dinner (And the conversation didn't end there, why?). Somehow, she managed to turn this into a 10-minute discussion about why (No, you ALLOWED her to. Simply saying "Because I say so." should be an adequate reason for a 4 year old). I realize now that she had no interest in listening to my explanation about the sugar content of the cookies — she was simply doing her best to break me ("Trying to break me"? Are you fucking serious? You are an adult playing a child's game and she wasn't doing anything beyond being a child. If you said "No, this is not a discussion, now go play.", what would have happened? She would have sulked for a couple minutes, and then gone to play.). "Parents have this illusion that if they give their children the reason why they can't do what they want, the child will stop wanting it, and as far as I know, that has never happened in the history of parenting!" says Nancy Samalin, a parenting educator and author of Loving Without Spoiling. Instead of trying to reason your child into obeying you, simply say, "No, and that's the end of the discussion." If she comes back at you with, "Why?" remind her, "In our house, that is the rule." And as your child repeats her "But why?" refrain over and over, keep this statistic in mind: A survey by the Center for a New American Dream found that kids will ask for something an average of nine times before the parents cave (and keep this in mind, YOU are the PARENT. You are the ADULT. It is your JOB to RAISE the people you've made. You do not have to explain your reasoning to anyone who you are raising.). So stay strong and repeat your simple "no" on the ninth, tenth, and eleventh entreaty. Eventually, your child will realize that her attempts are futile, and she'll move on.
STEP 4: Resist peer pressure.
When all their other tactics fail, children will inevitably resort to the one sentence that has been used to guilt parents since that first annoying caveman next door gave his son a shiny new rock: "But all the other kids have one!" (And that concerns you how? No, really, that's one of the retorts my HORRIBLE (snark off) parents used. What do you care if every other fucking kid in the fucking world has whatever crap? What concern is it of ours?)Unfortunately, there is no magical response that will definitively shoot this argument down (Wrong. There are several responses; 1. Maybe you'll get it for your birthday/another gifting occasion/when you do something to earn it. 2. If you really want it, you'd better figure out how to earn some money and buy it. 3. And your point is? And I should care why?), but there are a couple of strategies that can be successful. "You can say to your child, 'That's interesting. Let's talk about it,'" suggests Ehrensaft (Yes, be the adult sucked into playing the child's game. It will surely teach them nothing.). "There may be a good reason for your child wanting what the other kids have: It might be a great new game everyone is playing at recess or a new book they're all talking about (You know none of these are good reasons to just buy your kid some crap, right?). Tell your child that you will look into it, and see if it's something you want him to have." If the book/toy/game seems worthwhile, you can add it to his birthday list — or together you can come up with a strategy for how he can "earn" it, whether that means helping him calculate how much allowance he'll need to buy it (perhaps he needs to save half the price, and you'll kick in the rest) or suggesting it as a reward for a good report card.
STEP 5: Brace yourself for the meltdowns.
The first few times you stick to a new rule and say no, it will be painful — for you, your child, and everyone else within hearing distance (And if parents were honest, we wouldn't have to tell you that rearing children isn't all ponies and sunshine). "There will be meltdowns at first, so fasten your seat belt and react to them in a very calm and neutral way," suggests Ehrensaft. "If you hold to that line every day, your child will learn that this is not the way to get something that he wants, and he will eventually stop." In fact, experts compare this part of the despoiling process to sleep-training your baby: a week or so of stress and tears, and then one blissful night your baby sleeps till morning — or your kid finally understands the word no. (Yes, that's right...one can train a baby to sleep outside of the family bed, eat food that doesn't come from a teat and use a toilet without lasting psychological harm. If you have managed to find a person to make a baby with, I'm guessing your parents probably did the same with you as it is a rare person who will choose to make a baby with a 23 year old who still sleeps with mommy, craps their pants and gets a boobie before night night)
STEP 6: Share the thrill of anticipation.
I remember being 8 years old and running up and down the stairs in my house, screaming with excitement because the once-a-year TV showing of The Wizard of Oz was about to begin (I hate this damned movie, but that's another rant). Today, when my daughters want to see Dorothy and the Munchkins, they simply pop in a DVD. (Why do your children have unfettered access to your electronics?)
While our instant-gratification culture has made life easier in many ways, it has also diluted the joy of looking forward to special experiences (Just because you CAN have every whim instantly fulfilled doesn't mean you HAVE to). Just think about the buildup of excitement you get when you plan a vacation a month away — there's the thrill of planning it, packing for it, talking to your friends about it. When you finally get there, the joy is magnified (I am filled with joy any time I'm away from work). But if there is no wait, no period of dreaming about it, the thrill is often less intense (Who the hell goes on vacation with out planning ahead of time? Even I, an irresponsible worthless child free person, has to ask off from work, find coverage, save money, and pack.). "When kids are accustomed to getting things right away, nothing excites them anymore," says Friedfeld. "The bar has been raised so high that by the time they're teenagers, they might start looking toward other things — like alcohol and sex (and Jackass-like behavior, and killing homeless people)— for thrills (That's what happens to people who grow up with the Soma of immediate gratification, and never feeling an ounce of discomfort - why, as a parent, would you set someone - who you supposedly love more than anything - up for that kind of failure?)." Friedfeld also points out that teaching your children to wait for fun and treats helps them sustain focus and attention, two very important skills for success in school (Wouldn't it be easier for you to never say no and just strong arm teachers for passing grades? Then you'll totally have a best friend forever. Granted, they'll have no skills and you'll be caring for them until you die, but you'll never be lonely).
One of the best ways to teach anticipation is to give your child an allowance and let him save it toward the item he covets. My daughter, for example, knows that it takes exactly three weeks of saving her $2 allowance to have enough to buy a new Rainbow Fairies book, and seven weeks to save for a new Webkinz (I don't even want to know). For those few weeks, she talks about the book or animal, draws pictures of it, and discusses it endlessly with her little sister.
Other parents have found wish lists to be a powerful tool. Small children can cut out or draw pictures of toys they want for their birthday or Christmas/Hanukkah; older kids can create electronic wish lists on amazon.com and other websites (Whaaaa? My mother would come to me the first week of November and say "I need your birthday/Christmas list." The only time I knew I would get gifts was at my birthday or Christmas. This was the list my grandparents and relatives got as well. And it wasn't a guarantee that I'd get anything on the list, and I knew it. If your children are expecting specifically requested gifts at times that aren't traditionally for gift giving, you have already given them too much). And make the list finite: She can keep 10 items on it at any given time; to add a new wish, she has to eliminate an old one (or if you teach them that gifts are special, and that a list isn't a guarantee, then you won't have to worry). This not only helps her prioritize what she truly desires but also shows your child that a toy she swore she couldn't live without in April may seem less important in July.
By now, your child should be behaving so wonderfully (sure) that you will be tempted to smother him with tons of treats (or you've decided that you just want them to shut the fuck up and have returned to your coddling ways). Luckily, there are plenty of things you can bestow in abundance without running the risk of spoiling: snuggling on the couch and reading books (um, isn't this what parents do with their children?); saying "I love you" (nurturing your children should not be their reward for good behavior, who are you? Joan Collins?); popping a bowl of popcorn and watching the football game (again, really? what kind of household is this? Mommy Dearest? "Honey, we'll act like a real family if you're good"); listening to her tell an elaborate story about a princess and her magical purple rhinoceros without even once checking your cell phone (ohh, THAT kind of household. "Mommy's busy, go play with the box of broken glass until I decide you're good enough to listen to."). And don't forget those weekly rewards for good behavior — if your child has followed all the rules you set, go ahead and share an ice cream sundae or do each other's nails (yes, everyone gets a reward for behaving as expected in Joan Crawford's house). Because when you strip the parent-child relationship down to its core, it's pretty simple: Most kids would forgo another stuffed animal in favor of time with you. And that's something money can't buy. (That means changing your life to accomodate the people you've created...maybe just bring your kids with you to the bar and let them steer on the drive home)
Get Grandma on Your Team
Your children know that all they have to do is bat their eyes at your mom and that talking Elmo doll is theirs. How to get your parents with the program: (What? The? Fuck? Seriously?! When I was a child, Grandma was supposed to spoil me, that was her job. Going to Grandmas was a TREAT, because it was DIFFERENT from home. I got dessert and candy at Grandmas, I got sugar cereal, I got to stay up late, I got to check out all the books I wanted from the library, I got to pick out new patterns for my home made clothes and sometimes I'd even a toy I'd asked for - or at least got to play with different toys than were at my house.)
One mother of two in Minneapolis told REDBOOK she had present overload after the holidays last year. "We donated the extra toys to charity, but this year I'm asking the grandparents to buy just three gifts per child: one outfit, one toy, and one book." (I was an only child, and the only grandchild on both sides of my family, I was also the only neice. I was hella spoiled by my relatives... so maybe that's why my parents, uhhhh, you know, parented me.)
"Ask your parents to be moderate in their gifts. If they would like to make additional contributions, ask them to consider starting a fund or a trust for your child," says Ehrensaft. (Yes, that is just exactly the same as giving the child a gift. I know I really appreciated the bonds my grandparents got me when I was broke and wanted booze as I was flunking out of college on the first try.)
REQUEST THE GIFT OF TIME
Encourage your parents to spend the day with the kids at the botanical garden or baking cookies together, instead of buying them a giant dollhouse or stuffed animal. "Love is spelled T-I-M-E," says Samalin. "Remind your parents that your children love them, and not just things they give them." (Whaaaa???? Spend time with the children? Surely you jest. They raise themselves if you buy them enough crap to keep them quiet. Seriously, what the hell do people do with kids these days? Buy them stuff and lock them in the garage, apparently.)
If you are a parent, or someone who is responsible for raising a child, and you've made it this far...I applaud you for making it through my snarky opinions. Unfortunately for us all, the people who most need to hear this are not the ones reading it. You already have an ounce (or 16) of common sense, and already know that saying No to your children, and doing the job of parenting won't damage them. You are awesome. Trust, no matter what other parents might say about "gentle discipline" and "not stifiling creativity", that you are the adult and when you set boundaries and have rules which you enforce, you are doing society a favor as a whole because you will have created a well adjusted person who can work within the society we ALL must live in (and yes, it is a very different place than the "village it takes to raise a child"). You will create someone who is happy and confident, who respects and trusts your opinion and who will, in time, grow to be your friend and confidant...and that, according to my parents, is the best reward of all.
If you'd like to experience the horror, feel free to visit WORT's home page, and click on the archived shows tab. Then look for Leopard Print Lounge....oh, and you've only got a week. If it's been more than a week, you'll have to satisfy yourself with reading the play list and using your imagination.
Sparks - I've Never Been High - Exotic Creatures of the Deep
XTC - Grass - Skylarking
Tom Heinl - Half Day Vacation - With or Without Me
Cheech & Chong - Sargent Stadanko - Cheech & Chong's Greatest Hit
The Who - A Quick One (While He's Away) - BBC Sessions (Q)
Parts and Labor - Satellites - Receivers
Wire - One of Us - Object 47 (N)
Frank Zappa - Flakes - Sheik Yerbouti (Q)
Joseph Arthur & The Lonely Astronauts - Look Into The Sky - Temporary People (N)
Love and Rockets - Mirror People - Earth, Sun, Moon
Clinic - Free Not Free - Do It!
The Dirtbombs - Leopardman At T&A - We Have You Surrounded
The Cramps - Love Me/Strychnine/TV Set - How To Make A Monster
William Shatner - Common People - Has Been
Messer Chups - Anton LaVey 66.6FM - Crazy Price (Q)
Messer Chups - Inferno Image - www.myspace.com/messerchups (Q)
The Fall - Telephone Thing - 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong
Coyle & Sharpe - Sandor 21 - On The Loose
Kaada - All Wrong - Thank You For Giving Me Your Valuable Time
Killer Pussy - Pocket Pool - Vally Girl Sndtrk.
Alien Sex Fiend - Eat! Eat! Eat! (An Eye For An Eye) - Curse (Q)
Black Diamond Heavies - Numbers 22 - A Touch Of Someone Else's Class
El Vez - Mexican Radio - Gracias Land (Q)
Bongwater - Ye Olde Backlash - The Big Sell-Out
King Kahn & His Shrines - Killer Diller - Billiards at Nine Thirty
The Blues Magoos - Tobacco Road - The Best of...
Phyllis Diller - Don't Eat Here/The Way I Dress - Are You Ready For...?
Earthling Society - The Boy With The X-Ray Eyes - Beauty & The Beast (N)
Of Montreal - An Eluardian Instance - Skeletal Lamping (N)
Devo - Come Back Jonee - Are We Not Men?
Mitch Hedberg - Arrows/Saved by the Bouyancy of Citrus/Mitch is the S'th - Mitch All Together
Love - The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This - Forever Changes
Q = Question or Request
5 years ago, I saw a flier seeking girls interested in wearing skates and hitting other girls. I went to the first meeting of what became one of the influential leagues in first wave of the roller derby resurgence. I began skating with that league at a time when there were few rules, lots of creativity, and fighting and cheating were encouraged. Roller derby was "marketed" as scrappy girls in wacky/sexy uniforms knocking each other around. The only purpose rules and refs served was to provide a moderate framework for the safety of the players and to keep things from getting too out of hand.
This past weekend I helped out at an 18 league tournament. (That's more leagues in one place than were in existence when I started.) It was an awesome event with plenty of exciting roller derby action that allowed me to see how far the sport has come, or fallen, depending on your point of view. In my point of view, I think roller derby is falling into some sphere that I will have a really hard time enjoying and participating in should it continue to move in that direction.
Where I come from, people go to see roller derby because of the scrappy girls. They don't care how sexy these girls are, they don't care about the officiants, the announcers or , in most cases, the score. What they want to see is girls on skates knocking each other down with a minimal number of interruptions for penalties and injuries. They want to have a tough game where people do anything possible to get their jammer through the pack. They do not pay money to watch a bunch of people skate fast in a circle.
My biggest problem with where the sport is going is the Refs. People who chose to referee sports should have a genuine interest in the sport, officiating the rules and maintaining the safety of the game. These people should not have an interest in specific players, should not have an interest in showing off how cool or tough they are, shouldn't be hanging out with the teams on a social basis and should not be blowing their whistle for any reason beyond unsafe play. No one goes to a sport to see the fucking officials, period. Do not be an official if you need to have people pay attention to you, or you need to control people but couldn't make it in the police academy. Unfortunately, this is just the type of person who seems to be most drawn to referee roller derby. I believe refs have worked to increase the complexity and number of rules to the point where they've had to increase their numbers beyond all reason (name me one single sport where there are less than 2 players per ref). It is impossible to enforce the massive number of unnecessary rules fairly without having a ridicilous number of refs. What I saw at the tourney was a bunch of guys in black and white shirts show boating their skating skills, throwing snit fits because the score board was "confusing" (to them only) or the tape was wrong and hanging out with the players on a social basis. Does this happen in ANY OTHER SPORT? No. No it does not. Having a massive number of rules, where most of them have nothing to do with player safety, and fratrinizing, show boating refs just diminishes the toughness of the game, and makes it LESS professional and more boring.
And there's my second biggest complaint about where roller derby is going ... Professionalism. I understand that the people who play this sport want to be taken seriously. They are taking serious hits, having serious falls and really putting themselves on the line health-wise. The hits, falls and injuries are REAL. In my experience all I, and most other skaters, wanted people to know was no results were predetermined and all the hitting and falling was actually painful. However, during the tourney I overheard many comments about the professionalisim; some girls weren't dressed enough, some names were too dirty and how "awesome" it would be for this sport to be part of the Olympics. NO!! NO NO NO NO NO!!!! It's Roller Derby, not beach volley ball or WNBA. A big part of roller derby is your roller derby persona, which includes your name and the individual flair you give your uniform. What draws many women to roller derby, as opposed to other sports, is it's allowance for individuality and creativity (and the fact that it's full contact). You do get to pick your own name, you do get to alter your own uniform. If you are comfortable skating in your underware, then you get to skate in your underware. If you want to call yourself "Anita Flippabitch" then you get to do that. If the audience has a problem with that, they can get fucked, because they aren't skating. If a parent has a problem explaining the skater names or uniforms to their child, then they can go to fucking Chuck E. Cheeze so they won't have to have that conversation. To make it more professional, family friendly or uniform (in the uniform department) is to kill everything that makes it awesome, and draws people who would not otherwise pay to see a sport.
I just have a few questions.
What is so wrong with Roller Derby spending it's entire life as a relatively small, underground, amature, community-based event?
What is so wrong with the roller derby league in your community serving as something that helps keep the local roller rink open for another few years?
What is so wrong with people volunteering their time to help put on bouts, as opposed to paying to contract out so it's "professional" and "standardized"?
What is so right with diluting the basic essence of a very unique sport to keep it "family friendly" to get "major corporate sponsors"? Or simply so a small number of people can make massive amounts of money off the all the hard work we've put in on our own with no help from them to begin with?
What don't you like about spending a relatively small amount of money (compared to "professional" sports events) to hang out with your friends, see some awesome girls skate and knock eachother around and more likely than not, go hang out with them at the after party?
***I'll add here, I don't skate any more, but continue to participate as a mascot and support person. It has nothing to do with the issues in my manifesto above, but everything to do with the fact that I enjoy being able to do things like bend my knees and move without pain. Yes, I am a wuss.