Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Excuses Have to Stop…

I have a bad habit of making excuses and it seems to me that the rest of the world does as well. My reasoning for why I didn’t fold the laundry though can be chalked up to laziness on my part. But what about the other excuses we hear on a regular basis? How often do we have these questions pop up with a poor excuse as the answer?

The reason that child is dead? The reason that girl was attacked? The reason there is so much violence in the United States? The reason that kid killed a bunch of people? Please, tell me…what’s wrong with this picture?

I just read an article about a girl who was beat by her boyfriend to the point where she needs to have brain surgery. According to the article, the girl sent ‘snarky’ texts about the guy not being able to untangle fishing lines. So he started hitting her. And it escalated. A lot. Reading this article made me think, especially when I got to the quote from the kid’s lawyer. “Hutton’s attorney said that his client has no prior history of violence, but has a history of seizures. He said that alcohol combined with his medical history may have triggered the alleged assault.” (Jauregul, A. (2014, May 29). Teen Allegedly Beaten Over Snarky Texts Requires Brain Surgery For Injuries. The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 30, 2014, from www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/29/hannah-connaway-beaten-snarky-texts_n_5410064.html)

I’m sorry, but what? Seizures and alcohol made this guy beat his girlfriend? I don’t think so. I think what happened is this guy is a terrible person that took his own feelings of inadequacy out on his girlfriend. Some guys don’t have that in them. Others…well, others beat their girlfriends up. And they need to stop making excuses about it.

And although it’s been talked about exhaustively, what about Elliot Rodgers, that kid who went on a killing spree near UC Santa Barbara? There are many opinions floating around regarding why he did it. Well, according to his own youtube videos, the kid snapped because of girls ignoring him. God forbid you be a virgin at 22. Life is not fair and therefore…it makes sense to go on a killing spree? I don’t think so.

In my opinion, you can’t blame anyone but the person who did the deed. I don’t care how hard your childhood was. I don’t care what you’ve been through. The fact of the matter is there are just too many excuses that people use in order to justify evil. Maybe it’s time that people started taking responsibility for their actions. Maybe it’s time that we just stopped making excuses. Maybe, the bigger issue is people using events like the killing spree near UC Santa Barbara for their own political agendas.  

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Political Post Warning: Gay Marriage

It’s official. The bill that banned gay marriage in PA (my home state) has been overturned. Gay marriage is legal in PA and I for one am saying IT’S ABOUT TIME! I wrote a blurb in my hometown newspaper when I was in high school about gay marriage and my frustration with the debate. My thoughts have never wavered. It doesn’t make sense to me why people get their panties in a twist over something that doesn’t affect them. It would be like me getting angry because my neighbor was a vegetarian. It doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t affect you. Relax and worry about the bigger problems in the world.

Whenever I read comments on websites (and I know that I shouldn’t) where individuals are bashing the rights for gay marriage on the basis that it makes their marriage less valid, well it makes me want to say something. Rather than being that person having an argument over the internet, I’m going to say this for myself on my own blog. In your ignorant comment about gay rights, simply replace the word ‘gay’ with the word ‘black’ or ‘women’. These are things debated in the past. The right for blacks to vote or to go to the same schools as whites. The right for women to vote. “It’s human rights for everybody THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!”

Do you feel like a bigot yet?

Here’s some more food for thought: if you believe that if gay marriage is allowed it will taint the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, perhaps you should think about what divorce says about the sanctity of marriage. How many married couples do you know? Is one of those couples on their second marriage? More than one? How many divorced people do you know? Should they not be allowed to remarry because of the affect it will have on the sanctity of marriage?

There are many different ways that I could say it, but honestly…I think The Oatmeal sums up the gay marriage debate well in this comic: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/gay_marriage

 

 

 

The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done: Grandma’s Eulogy

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to Grandma. What made it even more of a challenge was that my family asked me to write the Eulogy. It’s a big responsibility and I hope I gave Grandma the send off she deserved and would be proud of. I did get a lot of complements, so I decided to share it. 

 

Doris Ester Bentrim was my Grandma. She has always been a big part of my life and it seems impossible to believe that she’s gone. For her birthday this year I wrote something for her and I’d like to read part of that.

“When Grandma was born, women didn’t have the right to vote. There were 48 states in the Union and the Ottoman Empire was still a strong power in the world. In 1915, the first coast to coast phone call was made. She lived through WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights movement and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Space Race and landing on the moon, the Cold War, the Berlin Wall coming down, and the War in the Middle East. When Grandma was born, Woodrow Wilson was the president. There was no Internet, no cell phones, no computers…it was a different world.

Grandma outlived her parents, seven siblings, and a husband. She gave birth to three kids and in turn, been responsible for ten grandchildren, and 19 ½ great-grandchildren. She has attended many weddings and many funerals. She celebrated fifty years of marriage. She has had ‘Happy Birthday’ sung to her at least 99 times.

She remembers meeting Civil War veterans. She remembers talk of the Titanic when she was a child. She lived through the Great Depression. I’ve never asked her where she was when Kennedy was shot. I don’t know where she was when the twin towers came down.

She has played more games of Black Mama than anyone else I know. She has knit afghans in a variety of colors as well as numerous kitchen wash cloths. She has made more meals than anyone else I know. She has eaten a lot of cookies. She has a sweet tooth and she likes her coffee HOT. Her favorite dessert is spice cake and she would meticulously make it from scratch. It’s not a small task. My Grandma has watched the world change before her eyes. She is a wonderful person and I wish I had more time to spend with her.”

I loved arguing with Grandma. When Adam and I were staying with her the last time Mom and Dad went out of town, I argued with her whenever it was time to eat. At dinner, she shoved her plate away and I told her that she had to eat at least one more bite of meatloaf. There was only one bite left. She looked at me, picked up her fork, cut the bite in half and ate half of it. I couldn’t help but laugh. Whenever we went out to lunch or to the movies, she argued with me when I paid the check. I think she just liked to argue. God knows she did it enough with Dad.

Grandma liked to argue, but she was also a little sneaky. Apparently Grandma was not very fond of one of her sister-in-laws, Aunt Hi. Word had gotten around that Grandma had an amazing recipe for spice cake. We all know this to be true – the cake is delicious. Well, Grandma finally shared her recipe with Aunt Hi but she left out a key ingredient. Aunt Hi could never figure out why her cake was never as good as Grandmas was.

I like to think that right now she is sitting at a table, birds chirping outside of their window – maybe some cardinals – across from Grandpa. She looks at him, impatiently waiting for him to draw a card and she curses under her breath when he picks up the whole discard pile and goes out. They count their points, realize they are past 1000 and cut the deck to begin playing Black Mama again.

I think playing Black Mama is a fond memory that all of her children and grandchildren share. We’ve all played with her, we all remember her calling people ‘Jackass’ when they played particularly well, we all remember her being proud when she won, and we all remember her being a sore loser too.

Grandma was an amazing woman. She survived so much and it is hard to believe that she is gone. It’s even stranger to realize that I only knew her for a fraction of her life. For all my twenty-seven years, Grandma has been there for me. It’s impossible to comprehend that she won’t be celebrating my next birthday with me. It seems unfair that she didn’t make it to 100, but I’m so grateful that we spent as much time together as we did.

It seems fitting, almost, that she would go this close to Memorial Day. In addition to Grandpa dying right before Memorial Day, this is also the time of year that cardinals are in abundance. After I found out she had died I spend some time just sitting outside, trying to grasp the fact that she was gone. I saw cardinals everywhere. It seemed like she and Grandpa had sent them, just to put a smile on my face.

When I was asked to write the Eulogy, I felt honored and at the same time I was a little worried. I only had known Grandma as long as I was alive and I never thought to ask her so many questions. I never asked her what her favorite movie was, her favorite book, or her favorite flower. I never did find out where she was when JFK was shot or when 9/11 happened. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that those things aren’t that important. I know who Grandma was for me. I loved her and I know she loved me. There was nothing more important to Grandma than her family. I’m just glad that she was with family when she died. It makes it a little more bearable.

I miss you Grandma. I’ll think about you anytime I see a cardinal fly past, anytime I eat a piece of spice cake, anytime I play Black Mama. I love you. 

Dear Grandma: A Letter

Dear Grandma,

I was drinking a hazelnut macchiato and sitting at my desk. I was trying to swallow despite the fact that I had just heard you collapsed. There is still hope, I thought, she is going to the hospital and they will fix her. She’ll be fine. I didn’t care about the fact that you were 99… you’re Grandma, you were going to get better. You always did. You survived so much more, why wouldn’t you survive this?

But then I texted Mom and told her to call my cell. It didn’t seem likely I would be staying at work much longer. It is hard to do your job when you keep crying. Mom asked if I could talk now. My stomach dropped out and I just knew. They wouldn’t have fixed you that quickly. It had only been a few minutes. The idea that you got better that fast was a childish hope, but I held onto it when I told her yes, I could talk. My phone rang and I instantly picked it up. I couldn’t wait and hold on to the hope that you were better, I needed to know. I wouldn’t believe it until Mom told me.

Struggling, Mom told me. “It’s all over.” A sob escaped from my mouth and I clutched the phone to my ear so tightly it hurt. I wanted it to be a bad dream. I wanted it to be anything but truth. I know we said other things, I remember that Mom said it happened quickly so you probably didn’t feel anything. Did you?

I cried at my desk and replayed the last few days. Would you have been better if you stayed in the hospital? Would it have made a difference? Did you fall because you were following Grandpa’s voice? Was he calling out to you to let you know it was time to go? Why was it time to go? Why did you leave us?

I asked if it was selfish that I didn’t want you to die when I told Adam about you collapsing and being rushed to the hospital. He told me it wasn’t selfish. I’m not so sure. I really wish you were still here. I can’t remember the last time that we played Black Mama. I know it wasn’t recently…I’m sorry for that. You used to love to play it.

I hope you have been reunited with Grandpa. I hope you get to see all your siblings again, all the friends you outlived, your parents. I hope Gunther and Rex are there with you and I hope you are happy where you are now.

We are all going to miss you so much. It’s hard trying to understand how to live in a world where you don’t. I’ve known you my whole life and you’ve always been there. You were a wonderful Grandma and I hope you know how loved you have always been. I hope I told you enough. I’m sorry that you won’t get the flowers that I sent you for mother’s day. I’m sorry that you had to leave. I love you, we all love you, and we will all miss you terribly. Goodbye.

 

Love Becky.

 

Rest in Peace, Doris E. Bentrim.

The Proper Use and Etiquette of Elevator Riding

I work in a rather secure building in the city. We have security guards, you have to use your pass to get in, and you cannot make the elevator go anywhere without your pass. You have to scan it and then push the button for your floor. You cannot go anywhere else with the exception of the gym on the second floor. This is a good and bad system.

First of all, the gym is located on the second floor. I do not understand why people going to the gym are forced to use the elevator to go up one floor. It’s not a great system, why can’t there just be some stairs? I take the stairs whenever possible but because of the security measures at my office building I have to take the elevator. This is mildly frustrating. What is really frustrating is dealing with the other people in the elevator that don’t know how to properly use it.

When your work is on the highest floor that the elevator goes to, there is no rush to push your button. At least that is what people with common sense know. The way the button panel is set up in the elevator is the first nine floors are on the bottom half and then there is a top section that goes to the higher floors. Our elevators are divided by the lower floors and the higher floors, so there are two banks of them. This makes getting to your floor a lot more efficient.

I’m on floor seven, so I feel that I should be able to push my button before those going to higher floors. It’s only fair, if the elevator goes past my floor, I’m just along for the ride at that point. So when people shove in front of me so they can push the button for floor fifteen, I get a little irritable. You can’t wait a fucking minute? What makes you so damn important that you need to push your button first??

The buttons don’t always push the first time either. You have to scan your pass and then push the button. Sometimes you have to do it a few times for it to work. While you are desperately trying to get your button pushed so you don’t miss your floor, others cut in front of you because they just don’t know what manners are. Calm down everyone! It’s not the end of the world if you have to wait for two seconds while someone else pushes their button.

What can be done about this anyway? Sometimes I stare at people with a disapproving look on my face, but I don’t think it really has much of an impact. Perhaps I should start speaking up? Simply look at them and say, “Since you are going to the higher floor, maybe you could wait a minute before pushing your button? Some of us are on the lower floors and can miss our floors if you don’t give us a chance to push our button.” Or I could just punch them in the face and say, “WAIT YOUR TURN!!” That would definitely be funnier. Although I would prefer not to have assault charges brought against me.

I also hold the elevator doors, especially when there are only a couple people in there and you can see others walking up. It’s only polite. I have to put forth so little effort in order to do this thing that I believe should be a natural reaction to seeing someone else coming to the elevator. And yet, when I do this, more often than not people gush their thanks. Are you so used to people being rude in and around the city that you don’t understand that kindness that I am showing? It is always a nice feeling when someone acts like you did him or her a huge favor. I am always thankful when someone does it for me as well.

Whenever I run into issues such as this it makes me wonder. Did you have parents growing up? Did you yourself ever grow up? Impatience is one thing when you are three, but by the time you are working full time in an office building with lots of other people there, perhaps it is time to wait your turn. I don’t think it is too much to ask. After all, it’s not like you are going to miss your floor. Just stand there for a minute, drink your coffee, play with your phone, do whatever it is you need to do in order to wait a minute without being that guy.