Monday, December 27, 2010


     Facebook! UGH! It is high school for adults. Where else can one have 500 friends, yet talk to no one? Recently, Jimmy Kimmel had an "Unfriend a Friend Day" on his show. Great idea! Delete, Delete, DELETE! How wounded people get when they are deleted. Well, then maybe you shouldn't have been "friends" in the first place.
     I personally enjoy Facebook. It saves me a $1.00 from buying the Newsday just to check my horoscope. (Maybe I shouldn't write that, if someone sees it they'll start charging for that too) It did reconnect me with a few and I do mean a few people I lost touch with that meant something to me. I had to rip out my yearbook to look up names for half of the other requests. Then there are the people who were REALLY AWFUL to me in high school, who sent me requests. Why in the world did I accept them? They aren't any nicer to me now? And in the same vain, why would people want to be my friend after the way I treated them. It is human nature's insatiable need to be liked, accepted and needed. That doesn't change because we get older. It just gets easier to mask.
     My husband and I have or I should say had an Adult ADHD employee. He was recommended by a family member and is actually this family member's close, personal, touchy-feely, friend. His wife is just as neurotic as he is. She is not the type of woman I would have been friends with, however, as a couple we socialized briefly and she was my "friend" on Facebook. I could not take his neurosis on the job. It was extremely difficult to separate (for him) business and personal relationships, especially with the type of business we ran. As our business was in the last phase of closing, my patience for his nonsense ran thin. As a result, I deleted his wife from my friend list. I was cleaning house. She ran down her friend list, saw it was I and sent me a message. I tried to be nice, said it was a misunderstanding, because clearly, this chic isn't stable. But, I was never re-adding her! She got hold of my family member and complained to him. We joked about it during Thanksgiving. He explained how hurt she was and blah, blah, blah, so, as I always do, I felt bad and sent psycho another request.  She messaged him, asking again what happened, but ultimately accepted my request. A few days later she deleted me. Utterly ridiculous!
     My friend list is constantly changing, which again, I find bizarre! People add and delete as often as they change their underwear. My husband HATES Facebook. He uses his account to watch who interacts with me, because I have had a stalker and he feels no male should ever interact with me. However, as a mother of four boys, sister of four brothers, cousin to four male cousins, I AM the only female bloodline this side of my family and therefore (unfortunately for my spouse) interact better with men! He also uses his account for business networking, but not for social means at all. I have family around the country. I post my children's pictures, videos and latest accomplishments to keep everyone informed. I find it a quick and useful tool. I am sure I will yet again be deleted off of someone's list after reading this though. It's Facebook people; get over it!
     Perhaps, as young men, this is what the founders had in mind when creating it. I didn't see The Social Network. That will be an HBO movie night! I did read that co-founder Mark Zuckerberg claimed it is an inaccurate portrayal, however, I do wonder how closely related Facebook and Zuckerberg's own life is linked.  What a better way for a nerdy, young techie to get revenge on his more popular counterparts than to add them then delete them from his cyber life! Or, as I witness countless teenagers do, post unfavorable things about their "friends" for all to see! And of course there is the awful cyber bullying that has gained infamy lately with real kids committing suicide! Facebook helps me keep tabs on my two teenage boys. Rule in my house is if you want an account, you need to be friends with me!
         I posted during the "Unfriend a friend day" that I would be cleaning house. I never did, but noticed my "friend" numbers diminish. As is often posted on Facebook: ROFLMFAO! Did I touch a nerve; make people curious or nervous that I would delete them? Did my silly status have that much power? I don't know and I don't care! I do know that Facebook is here to stay. It is up to us parents to monitor yet another playground: The Cyber One!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What ever happened to the polite and cheerful sales clerk?

     I just had major culture shock within less than an hour between two very different experiences. I had a job interview on the North Shore of Long Island for a new athletic facility. I was applying for the stylist position at the spa in this mega-center. It was all quite impressive (except for the compensation). My interviewer gave me the grand "picture" tour and throughout the entire time kept emphazing the company's mission statement: "To provide an educational, entertaining, friendly and inviting experience amongst their guests (yada yada yada)...".  And he was correct; the greeting at the front desk was exceptionally friendly, he was charming and witty, and he made me laugh many times, especially when he referenced the "cult" I would be joining. He was trying to emphasize the notion of friendliness. (Not an easy thing to find on Long Island these days. New York City used to get the bad rap of inhabiting rude and unkind folk. Not any more. The city is now full of happy smiling faces because the unhappy ones moved out here!) He was trying to drive his point home with references to The Stepford Wives, microchips being implanted in your neck on the mother ship, I mean main offices in Minnesota, and free cult (gym) membership. Other than the money I wouldn't be getting paid, it was quite a lovely experience. I shook David's robotic hand and headed off to the real world where my husband slept.
     Frank felt this incredible urge to drive along on my interview, I think it had something to do with the FM boots I was wearing. You don't where a suit to a hair stylist interview. You NEED to be stylin'! Whatever!  He fell asleep in the car while I was in my dream world. I, WE had to stop at a store to pick something up for Christmas on our way home. The clerks in that store were very nice. As soon as we walked in, "can we help you" echoed all around. We started to say we need a gift card and the man to our right immediately asked how much. We walked straight to him, but then he started a five minute conversation with another man who was leaving. The store wasn't crowded; we would have gone to one of the other three men who offered us help, but he was first and loudest and now we waited...and waited...and waited. I was fine. I was still contemplating no salary or happy, smiley people. But, my dear charmer barked out "Really, you call us over for help, then BS for half an hour!".  Ok, he didn't say it loud enough for everyone to hear, only those within ten feet, which the clerk clearly was. He said goodbye to Mangano's press secretary (who by the way loooooves his job as evident by the universal jerk off hand gesture he made while describing his career choice) and proceeded to help Mr. and Mrs. Happy.
     On the road again.  Now, I make the mistake of saying "I'm Hungry".  Frank's interest piqued. Ben's Kosher Deli was in the same center we were in and it made him think of roast beef. 17 years ago, when Frankie was three months old, we went to J.C. Penney for Christmas Pictures. My poor baby was colic. It was so hard keep him from crying and I enlisted my parents' help as well as my husband. After, we went to Ben's for dinner. My very white and very German husband never ate Kosher before. He ordered a roast beef sandwich with extra mayo and a black and white milk shake.  After the waitress, my parents and myself stopped laughing, we explained they do not serve that at Kosher Restaurants.  Since we never patroned there again, and since he was in the mood for a big juicy, rare, roast beef sandwich dripping with mayo (yes, I know, a heart attack waiting to happen), we would have to go hunting.  My hunger would have been satisfied with a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee. He didn't want Subway, which was down the road, because he thought it would have been too expensive. This has nothing to do with being broke, but more to do with the German trait of hoarding. And you think we would have quit at eating out after our last excursion this past Saturday when I ate a vomit sandwich, Michael ate pancake batter and Frank ate a raw chopped meat sandwich at our favorite little fork in the road in Redhook. "Where is there a good Deli?" he questioned aloud. "I don't know" was my answer, I was too busy answering an email. So he drove back to Valley Hood, stopped at the bank for the cash and parked by the Deli he used to like on the Avenue. I was cold and wanted to stay in the car. "No, I don't know all the little things you like" was his response. REALLY, 21 years of marriage and you DON'T KNOW HOW I LIKE MY SANDWICH. So, I reluctantly went with him and was actually surprised he was going to let me walk around town in  "those" boots. We get up to the clerk, of course the one I was hoping wouldn't serve us. I saw him checking me out with his beady, little, skelly eyes. (maybe it was the boots). I was relieved Frank didn't notice...whew. I ordered my Ohhh so difficult turkey, swiss, lettuce, mayo with salt and pepper on a roll (same shit I've been ordering for 21effin years). He couldn't be bothered taking our order and it is clear the clerk has an attitude and not nearly as friendly as my last two stops. When I asked for a poppy seed roll, he snipped "they"re all poppy seed". Frank is now ordering his roast beast and salads as number one son calls. He wanted to tell me about his scholarship he was offered to Pace University. I moved to the back of the deli because it is just so rude to talk on a cell phone in public. Frank assumed something was wrong because I was speaking quietly. Hellllooooo-public place!. I started telling him about my conversation with our son, but I can tell he is Mount Vesuvius on the verge of eruption. He is glaring at the register as Skelly Man is ringing up two sandwiches, a small bag of baked lays and a half a pound each of macaroni and potato salad. The total was $21 and change. Frank asks for a receipt and I just start walking out, because I know what is coming. I actually felt like crawling out because as I am leaving,  cranky pants is now shouting, "Jesus Christ, 21 effin dollars for two sandwiches. It BETTER be over flowing with roast beef." And Skelly man is waving his hand at my husband mumbling some nonsense. DID I MENTION I WANTED TO GO TO SUBWAY! As I got in the car, I thanked my husband profusely for embarrassing me and we drove home. I threw the bag on the table having lost my appetite. But I quickly gained it back after opening the bag. Adding insult to injury was the size of the sandwiches.  Mine was overflowing with succulent turkey and Frank's sandwich had about three slices of roast beef...roflmfaooooooooo.
     Who knows why people act the way they do. All joking aside, I know how affected my husband is by this economy right now and how it did contribute to a minor short circuiting. The cost of living is insane. Buying ingredients for my Christmas cookies last week, I was shocked to see how much butter cost. Prices are on the rise and salaries are either being cut or people are losing jobs. Perhaps the deli dude is feeling the same thing. Such different experiences in the same day leads to a very exciting life. It's all in how you see the world. I love it all and can truly find humor in everything that happens. God Bless all those suffering from job loss and economic strife. I hope you all find a way. And if the road seems difficult and wayward, try driving with me, I guarantee a few laughs and a few smiles.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"The Pledge of Allegiance"

     This past Tuesday was my 10 year old's holiday concert at his elementary school. He was so excited to have a solo in the chorus especially since he feels overshadowed by his brothers. We couldn't wait to hear him, because he refused to give me an at home preview.  Just my husband and I were present for this gig, which was a nice change of pace. We would be able to give him our undivided attention and praise. As the second of six holiday performances this season (we have four boys) was about to begin, I looked around the small gymnasium with bittersweet emotion. I couldn't wait to hear my baby, but I couldn't wait to get out of there. I have many issues with the school and neighborhood. "Thank God my house is for sale" kept running through my head.
     It's not that we are racist. How could we be with the league of nations running through my children's veins. The newest members of our community refuse to participate within it. No one speaks English. They won't join the PTA, watch the parades, or donate anything. Some do, but our once close knit school has many new faces doing their own thing, usurping whatever resources they can. Please don't comment that we don't extend an offering to them; we have abundantly. (We, meaning the people who have lived here for some time.) And now we have common criminals and drug dealers rampaging our streets. It is time to find a safer place to live.
     As my thoughts lingered for a while, my friend came in and diverted my attention (thank God!). I hate feeling that way about my home. I received a text about a friend's birthday inviting me to my newest favorite restaurant, Mio Posta, for the festivities. As I was declining because we have zero dinero, the Principal asked us to stand for "The Pledge of Allegiance". Reluctantly, I paused my texting, but proudly recited the pledge with my right hand on my heart the same as I have done since I was in Kindergarten. As we sat, my husband informed me that he saw at least 50% of the people in the gym turned auditorium not say it. I wasn't surprised, but kept quiet as the glee club was starting.
     This past June, during my now five year old's graduation from Nursery School, not only did many not recite it, they didn't even stand up. We left there disgusted.  Now, as we were heading out, I couldn't control my smart-ass mouth. I loudly proclaimed as we walked that if you don't say the pledge, you should be shot. (the man next to me was shockingly laughing-I think because he was one of the non-reciters) No mortal shootings, just grazing flesh wounds. Of course I was joking, (ok, maybe half-joking) but the sentiment is still there. I guess I am naive in that I just do not understand why they wouldn't say it. I am proud to be an American. If they came here for a better life then they should be shouting it louder than anyone else. I was under the impression that you needed to know it by heart to be a citizen of this great country. So, now I am concluding that they are illegal, here on lifelong visas or just don't care. They are taking what they need to support their families back home.  Well then if that is the case, thank the country that is helping you do that with 30 seconds of loyalty. So, I try to give the benefit of the doubt: maybe they forgot it, maybe they didn't learn it in THEIR language or maybe they left their cheat sheet in their other pants.
     There are so many who come here and can't wait to be a citizen. They pay taxes, participate in their communities and fight in our armed forces. We were all at some time immigrants. Some more recent than others. My mother, Doreen G. Kimmel wrote a book, I'll See You in My Dreams, documenting my grandfather's life in Little Italy and what life was like for his immigrant parents. It was NOT easy, yet he and his brothers enlisted in World War II to fight for the country they adored. They learned English, assimilated to the customs, yet kept their traditions intact and most of all LOVED the country that gave them the freedom to not like it sometimes. It's ok to not like the reigning leaders and political parties. It's ok to want to change policies. We have the freedom to have open minds. But it is NOT ok to NOT recite "The Pledge of Allegiance". You won't get shot. You won't get arrested. But if I am around, you will get a glaring death stare. If my husband is there, he'll snarl at you.  If you don't love it then leave. Go to France, they hate Americans, you'll fit right in.


I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

     If I made you angry - Great! If I made you laugh-Awesome!  If I made you think-Even Better!  If I did nothing for you-then try back again to hear some of my other rants and raves.