By: Cody J. Elms
What can we learn from this year?
I feel as if the lessons are endless.
When we lost a legend both on and off the court we were shocked, heartbroken, and in disbelief. When events unfolded that brought to light the racial divide that has been boiling below the surface of denial and ignorance we were ashamed, appalled, and awoken. When a virus shut the world down, some of us were stunned to the point of inward reflection and silence while others felt pushed to the point of rage. What we can learn from this pinnacle year in history will be uncovered and discussed for decades to come.
We are all unique and with that comes different priorities. In normal years these differences never come fully to light. In most instances, my priorities and yours rarely impact the course of our individual lives. However this year was far from normal and therefore certain aspects of how we live our lives and what we value were brought out of the darkness. What lies within the shadows of our day to day lives is often times the precise thing that may alter history.
Every person's experience with the truth affects them in varying ways. This year has reorganized our reality. It forced us to realize that even those we are closest to may not view us in the same light. It caused us to accept that our morals, values, priorities, and loyalties may not be respected by our peers, friends, and family. There has been an overwhelming shift in whom we trust, whom we have faith in, and whom we believe will be there in our final days. And let's not make any mistake about it, this year brought upon many individuals final days in some of the most unexpected ways.
We can't go back and alter history but we can learn from it. We found out within a 365 day period just where people's loyalty lied. One of the most unspoken yet important facets of our lives is who is loyal. Not to us as a person but to what we believe in. To what accumulates into who we are. Throughout the last 12 months we have seen backs turned, communication severed, loved ones vanished, and lines drawn. Politics have split up families. A virus has made photos of year's past remnants of what once was. The literal personal value of life itself has resulted in who is in yours and who is not.
For 2021 I'm not sure there is a lot more we need to take in. 2020 was an awakening of our consciousness. Where became educated on the very make-up of humanity. This year we need to apply this new found knowledge to how we plan for our futures. Some of that may involve accepting and moving on, while some may require mending the fractured and broken pieces of this past year. None of us are made to be set in our ways. We can all budge a little to ensure that the new decade begins far better than the previous one ended. Change is frightening when you face it alone. 2020 has caused us to feel more isolated than ever before. 2021 does not have to be a year of isolation and separation. Rather it should be a year of integration and unification. A year of recognizing who is loyal and who is not.
As I said earlier, 2020 will be studied for decades. So like many other historical times of struggle, darkness, and division, let the moments that follow be of strength, enlightenment, and solidarity.
May the new year not bring upon a new you, but instead a better you and a better us. A year where we find confidence in where our loyalties lie and comfort in where others do as well.
By: Cody J. Elms
Your Christmas is too perfect, and you know it, but you can’t help yourself.
I get it. You see, back in the day when social media consisted of angry teens on MySpace and while Facebook was still in its infancy, no one knew what your home looked like for the holidays unless they came over to visit. Back then we didn’t have the glimpse into everyone’s home that we have now. You just did what you do with what you had, and everything went well. And if you want to go way-way-way back when phones still hung on walls and computers were things of NASA and Star Trek…well we won’t discuss those dark times.
But we will discuss the current times. Somewhere between dial up and 5G, Christmas became less about the commercialization of the holiday and more about the presentation of the holiday home and family.
Now you might be asking yourself, “Well isn’t it good to get away from all of that commercialization?”
NO! It’s not. Because it didn’t go away. It didn’t die. It simply was overshadowed by an even greater monster. Plus, let’s be honest with ourselves, we no longer wait for holiday deals to buy something special. Many of us now more than ever impulse buy the latest and greatest just because. I’m not sure it even takes commercials anymore. I mean really, when was the last time a commercial affected your spending? But for some reason you keep buying shit don’t you? Yup! You do. We all do.
What has been created by Facebook (all grown up now), Instagram, Snapchat, and everything else is a virtual phoniness of the holidays.
That being said, I can confidently say this, I miss the tackiness of Christmas.
Yes, I miss the days of off-pattern blinking multi-colored Christmas lights half-assed hung on the front of the house. You know, the Christmas days where the artificial tree has a nice lean to it and you’re not to sure why, but dammit it’s still not as big of a pain in the ass as one of those real ones. The Christmas times when you just plastered the inside of your home with the same faded, oddly designed, and sometimes outright creepy decorations that you have used for a decade or more. The only new decoration was either the ornament one of the kids bought you last year with your own money or something you saw on sale on Dec. 26th while you were out looking to rent a movie for the new VHS player. I miss people arguing over the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus vs Toys“R”Us. I miss A Charlie Brown Christmas being ON TELEVISION!
Oh yeah, you just time traveled, didn’t you?
For me however, it isn’t everything I mentioned as much as it is the time. I’m not one of those throw backs that thinks everything was better then than it is now. If I were, I would be a hypocrite. The very act of me being able to sit down with an adult beverage, type out my thoughts, and throw it all over the internet is something that was not possible in the good old days. I'm just saying, why did Buffalo Plaid take over our decor? It. Is. Everywhere! But long before we all gave a damn what anyone thought of our "Christmas Theme" there was oddly enough more focus on togetherness. Sure it was cheesy and corny and the pictures had to be developed even though they all had red-eye, but it still felt genuine. It felt real. It was commercialized but it wasn't materialistic. If that makes sense.
Everything now is filtered, edited, and perfected, but if 2020 has taught us anything it is that perfection is a pipe dream. It is the flaws in the design, the wrinkles in the plan, and the piecing together of individual chaos, personalities, mishaps, and outright restrictions that help to create memories. This year perfection is not possible. So why pretend anymore? We've learned from January 1st until December 25th that banking on things to run perfectly or even smoothly is not a realistic approach.
Celebrate your holidays how you choose, share what you desire, decorate as you please, but remember none of it matters if your heart isn't in it. You're not on display. You don't have to impress. Make memories you can look back on and wonder what the hell you were thinking. None of us will forget Christmas of 2020, but it doesn't need to be because it was a flop. It's okay to go off script. It's okay to be different. Think less canvas and more caring. Less about "likes" and more about laughs. Less about the scene you set and more about who is sitting in the scene.
You don't have to go back in time, but next year don't be so quick to dispose of that ornament that's cracked, or the tree that leans, or the weathered Santa hat. Look at what's around you when your memories are made, and embrace that scene. If you can bring back even a glimpse of that on Christmas days in years to come, you, your family, and your friends will be better off for it. Sure Christmas is based upon religion and somewhere along the line Santa Clause came about, but now it seems to be neither of those more often than not. At the end of the day, what it needs to be about more than anything else, regardless of religion, race, nationality, location, or fiscal stature, is being together in person and spirit. Creating memories that will make you laugh, cry, and laugh again.
Happy New Year.
By: Cody J. Elms
If we intend on being an accepting modern society of change and progression so that all people feel comfortable in their skin both literally and figuratively, then we need to reject the common practice of preach first and act last. The boiling point you're witnessing is one that is brought on by years of saying the right things publicly, making your sales pitch for personal gain, and then privately believing and acting in a very different way.
We say and feel things differently throughout our lives. Our political opinions, societal views and their subsequent importance, and overall reaction to the world around us is something that is always in flux. We change who we are because the world changes. Our priorities reorganize. In the simplest of terms, it is cause and effect. Who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow, is far more important that who we were then.
However, to understand the path forward, you do have to acknowledge the past. So, if you find yourself asking how we got to this point, it is not all that difficult to see. We, including myself, have ignored the obvious signs of lingering racial hatred, ignorance, and injustice for decades. We have looked the other way far too often while living amongst those whom we know are wrong. In the middle of the 20th century this nation began a movement for acceptance. There were huge gains made during this movement in an effort to promote and achieve equality for all men and women. But America got lazy. America became a nation of materialization and commercialization. The focus of the American people leaned heavily in favor of making life easier, more fun, and relaxing, and less on finishing what was already started in the 1960s.
From 1986 until well into the 21st century, living in rural Pennsylvania I was unaware of the “tone” many people around me had. I was distracted. From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman as a kid, to PlayStation as a teenager, to cell phones as an adult, the distractions from the real world were and continue to be endless. The only difference between now and then, is that the real world has become much louder than that what distracted us from it.
We are not all going to march down main street. We are not all going to scream from roof tops. Most logically thinking individuals understand that not everyone is in position for whatever reason, to be the loudest voice in the room. The world is made up of those who lead and those who follow. However, our definition of leading tends to be one that is dramatized. We often time believe that to be leader you have to stand tall in front of a crowd of people, and then captivate them such as JFK or Martin Luther King Jr. That you need to get people fired up and passionate about the cause you are supporting. That is in fact, one type of leader. Yet, much like military conflict, once the bombs are dropped, that does not mean the fight is over. It takes small victories over months or even years to help win the war. For the small victories, it doesn’t necessarily take a boisterous leader, but rather someone who will stand by their principles, values, and beliefs. Consistency one of the premier forms of educated your peers.
Look to your inner circle. I see post after post of local, small town people who say, "We need to do better. We need to be accepting. We need to evolve." Yet, I also see the same people continuing to play on recreational sports teams with, go out with, and spend significant time with folks who are openly prejudice, racist, sexist, and anti-LGBTQ. I do not necessarily mean family. You do not choose your family, but you do choose your friends and who you associate with during leisure time. Change requires sacrifice. Some have to sacrifice a lot, and some a little, but if you're going to tell your social media "friends" to improve their way of thinking, I sure hope you you're starting with your real friends.
Those who spew hatred, whether vague or direct, need to not find comfort in groups or numbers. They need to not find comradery in their views amongst the general public. This passive support is what allows them to feel as if they speak for the majority of people. Yourself included. These individuals should only find themselves feeling more and more isolated as society moves beyond their retrogressive mentality and into a more accepting, secure, and understanding future.
Who is truly invested in the future? This isn't about an election now or four years ago. This isn't about any election for that matter. It's not about Trump, Biden, Clinton, or Bush. This is about you. How you carry yourself in and out of your social circles. The modern world has serious and major issues to deal with that we will not be able to handle if we continue to propagate these divisive and exclusionary beliefs that don't just date back generations, but centuries.
The future belongs to no one. All we know is, it's our responsibility to make it better. For our children and for their children. We must take the time and have the patience to continue this work in progress we call modern society, so that they don't have to rebuild from the ground up.
By: Cody J. Elms
I've been a father for four years now. Not a day goes that I don't wonder how I haven't messed it up yet. Actually...let me rephrase that. Not a day goes by that I don't wonder how bad I have messed it up.
I've struggled at times. We all do. We all try to be the perfect parent, despite knowing that perfection is subjective. I've tried to stick to the script. I've heard the words of wisdom passed down, browsed the blogs, read the articles, and watched the videos on how to be a parent that helps their child grow emotionally, intellectually, and physically.
They’ve helped a little, but what is amazing and almost magical about the entire experience is that overall the majority of the time it just comes naturally and is instinctive.
There are fathers and there are mothers. That's it. Now before you get bent out of shape, understand that those are roles. They are titles. Not defined by their gender or their relation, but rather by their historically referenced responsibilities and influences associated with both labels.
The traditional role as father is often times met with more jokes than sentiment. From white sneakers to bad backs to literal Dad Jokes, the title of Father is something we typically look at as some Chevy Chase or Tim Allen character (I'm dating myself here).
Being a father, particularly one in 2020, is far from just comic relief. Although some of these Dad stereotypes I personally live up to to the fullest, fatherhood in the modern world is more in depth than it has been in the past. Long gone are the days of the father image being the strong silent type who works all day and is emotionally uninvolved. In a way, as the role of women in society has expanded significantly over the last 80 years, so has that of the traditional father inside the home.
Fatherhood as it is today is still a relatively new concept of the role. The Dad role now more than ever needs to be directed closer to connecting with your child on a level and in a way that they are able to recognize themselves and their identity as well as respect those they will grow up around and meet throughout their lives.
Mothers have always been the nurturers, and perhaps that has resulted in a way with them not having the cultural impact that a dad can have at times. Dad's are not supposed to be THAT voice in their child's ear, so when it is heard now, maybe, hopefully they will listen. It's not all sunshine and rainbows. As I referenced earlier, there will be struggle. Hell, there will be absolute failure. They just need to see you try. Then try again. Never to stop trying to be that influence and guide.
With unfamiliar territory comes trial and error, research, and just flat out "wingin' it", but when you invest so much time and energy into something, it becomes an everlasting part of you. That is why I feel the roles of mom and dad are not based on genetics as much as on who takes up the mantle.
So whether you're a father being a father, a mother assuming both roles, a grandparent stepping in, a father to be, or anyone else, know that as we honor Dads, that you're included. We know your role, and you're a great dad. You're celebrated, you're appreciated, and you're the World's Greatest Dad to the only person that matters.
By: Cody J. Elms
Remember in 2019 when you thought it couldn’t get any worse?
Remember when Iron-Man sacrificed himself, and you thought it couldn’t get any worse?
Remember when Australia was on fire, and you thought it couldn’t get any worse?
Remember after Kobe Bryant passed away, and you thought it couldn’t get any worse?
Remember the Impeachment, and you thought it couldn’t get any worse?
Remember COVID-19, ALL OF COVID-19, and you thought it couldn’t get any worse?
Remember the murder of a George Floyd, and you thought it couldn’t get any worse?
Remember the violence, looting, and riots that commandeered peaceful protest, and you thought it couldn’t get any worse?
A year ago, feels like a lifetime ago, and who the hell knows what a year from now will feel like, but one thing is for certain, the world is unpredictable, unstable, and uncontrollable. Just when we believe it can’t get worse, it gets worse. As of this writing, we are still several days away from even being halfway through this year. So, take a deep breath, tighten your belt, and saddle up, Part 2 of 2020 is bound to be a blockbuster.
In the spirit of movie titles (since there are no movies now), I would call the first half of the year 2020: A New Normal. This isn’t a random title however, but instead a nod to the constant reminder that, “This is the new normal now…We must embrace the new normal…The new normal of the world…”
Now when you hear that, if you become either instantly joyous or equally angry, you need to settle down a little bit, because the phrase is not what it seems. It is certainly not nearly as divisive as we try to make it out to be. For some reason as soon as someone utters those three words it causes nothing but dissension between people of opposing beliefs or views without hesitation. The new in that phrase is not really the problem, and yet it is where the focus tends to be. As a matter of fact, it may not even be relevant to the conversation. It’s the word normal that needs to be clarified.
I beg you, define normal. I promise you will not succeed. We have spent far too long and vast amounts of energy trying to be normal. Tirelessly trying to be something that we're not. Putting on a show to blend in to whatever depiction of normal we are around or accept as our own. Whether it is quiet and reserved, or flamboyant and loud. White or black. Christian or Muslim, normalcy is a facade. It's no more real than Superman or Cinderella. It is an accumulation of stories and expectations that have been tweaked throughout centuries to adhere to the climate of the time. Normal is self-created based off of your environment. Your variation of normal is no different than your political opinion or favorite football team. It's yours. You may share aspects of it with like-minded people, but never all of it. Normal in its entirety is not normal at all.
Normal is a fabrication created by people who want to generalize something or someone and ostracize those who do not fall in line with what their definition of how society or people should be. Normal is more of a scare tactic than it is a reality. Normal is impossible. Are you normal? Am I normal? What exactly is normal? Do you even want to be classified as normal?
Normal for me, in rural Pennsylvania with divorced parents, a son, two siblings close by, one sibling in Afghanistan, and a gaggle of nieces and nephews. It’s working five days a week. It’s enjoying time with my son and dog at Patriot Pines. It’s understanding that my son goes to his mother’s half the time. It’s understanding that life doesn’t work out how you plan, but that’s okay. It’s watching/listening to every Yankees game, and being disappointed every time I watch the Browns. Normal for me, is normal for me, not for you. My normal cannot be duplicated, replicated, or mimicked.
Normal for an African-American is not normal for me. Normal for a police officer is not normal for me. Normal for a soldier, a nurse, a pro-athlete, will never be normal for me. So, when they say, “A new normal,” who exactly are they referring to?
Is it wearing masks? Well nurses and doctors wear them every day. That’s not new to them.
Is it washing your hands and not touching every God forsaken thing you see? I feel like that should already be the practice, but it seems that’s part of this new normal as well.
As a matter of fact, almost every time I hear someone spout off this phrase, I can immediately disregard it. Almost…
What I do know is normal is hate. Hate has been, is, and by the looks of it will remain the normal. From the leaders of the world, to acquaintances on social media, hate is everywhere. It divides us. It makes us angry and jealous. It creates paranoia, fear, and anxiety. Hate, not love is why we lose the empathy and innocence we had as children. Hate has created a world of war that has existed long before I or you were born.
However, in the world of Newton, for every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The equal and opposite reaction to hate is very obviously love, and yet, where is the love?
Love is quiet. Love is subtle. Love is not burning buildings down or screaming at people for taking a knee or not wearing a mask. Love is not BREAKING NEWS. Love will never be a headliner. It is not political, religions, or race based. Love is not what Wolf Blitzer or Sean Hannity want to talk about. Love doesn’t need them. It doesn’t need fame or future, spotlight or mobs.
Love needs you and I. It needs calm resilient people to come together for what is best for all of mankind. It needs pure hearts and unity.
When the sickness is gone, love will heal a wounded world. When the flames subside, love will rebuild broken communities. When the election is over, love will reconnect family and friends over time.
To me, normal is not just the world we live in, it’s the people who live in it. The world can change at the snap of a finger, but the people are the same whether in quarantine or protest. Those will hate, will hate. Those who will love, will love. That is the only normal we can all know, and there is nothing new about it.
Can things get worse? Absolutely. Will they get better? In time…yes. Just remember that 2020: A New Normal may already be wrapped up, but the sequel still has a script to write.
By: Cody J. Elms
For the tornado of emotions when you become pregnant, have one on us.
For the nine months of transformation your body undergoes, have one on us.
For the hours of labor of which words cannot describe, have one on us.
For those days in the after birth where you feel the separation of mother and child, have one on us.
For the years you function at a high level with little rest, have one on us.
For being the disciplinarian and the comforter within moments of each other, have one on us.
For having to deal with society's changing standards for women, have one on us.
For working more hours in a day than anyone ever will see, have one on us.
For the diapers you've changed, baths you've given, songs you've sang, and stories you've read, have one on us.
For those days where you feel you failed, have one on us.
For those days where you know you succeeded, have one on us.
For the days where you amaze us (all of them), have one on us.
For the mothers sacrificing everything for their child, have one on us.
For the mothers who have cried for no reason, have one on us.
For the mothers doing it alone, have one on us.
For the mothers who have lost a child, have one on us.
For the mothers who live scared, have one on us.
For the mothers trying to restart their lives, have one on us.
For the mothers who wonder of their purpose after their child becomes an adult, have one on us.
For those same mothers, remember you're always their mother, and you'll always have a purpose in their life, so have one on us again.
For being you, always being you. For adapting to circumstances and the changing world. For making us believe you have it under control, even if you don't. For being the inspiration for so many young women to be strong, brave, and courageous, and for so many young men to be respectful, caring, and selfless. For being the open arms for your young child and the open line for your adult child. For being a teacher, a nurse, a counselor, a boss, a cook, a handyman, and so much more. For just being mom...
Have one on us...and then have another. You've more than earned it. Cheers!
by: Cody J. Elms
Is this a great awakening or is this the day of reckoning?
At a time when the world is at a stand still. Every country, every person, everything of life that we have known and not known has been halted. We have witnessed an obstruction of our routine. The termination of a facade of the civilized world that we have built to make us believe we are invincible. We are not Gods. We are, we have, and we will be hurt. What bleeds out are the true colors of humanity. The true colors of who we are. What we will stand for and what we will fall for. These colors have never been more vibrant in recent history than at this moment. You may not believe in a higher power or an entity beyond mankind, but understand, regardless of what you believe, the brutal truth of today is, for the first time in a very long time, the world has us in the palm of it’s hand.
Some do believe this is a conspiracy. They feel it is a hoax. They think that it is a select few sociopaths operating from the shadows to break us down and prepare us for the final nail in the coffin. Maybe they’re right. Maybe there truly is a group of individuals pulling the strings across the globe. On this day, what does it matter? You can’t prevent a war once it has begun.
Whether it is a natural phenomenon or an act of evil, it is irrelevant. We have spent the better part of three months trying to cope with our confusion by directing our irresponsible rage towards people, theories, nations, and false gods. Always looking for the easy way out.
This is not easy. This is not supposed to be easy. Times of trials and tribulations are not meant to be casually strolled through hoping some great savior will bail us out. Whether you are kept in isolation in fear of your health and financial status, lying ill struggling to survive, caring for those in need while putting yourself at great risk, or desperately attempting to maintain focus while being forced to operate in a dangerous world, in no way is this ever going to just magically get better with the stroke of a pen or the wave of a hand.
There is no Superman. There are no Avengers. There is no Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, or Bruce Willis who will save the day and get the girl. Despite all of our attempts to escape from the real world over the last century, the real world is a script that continues to be penned. It is unfinished, it is unpolished, it is raw and it is unrelenting. Yet, we all are the supporting cast. None of us are stars in this show, and the more we wait for someone to step into the spotlight, the closer we get to having to accept that the show may not go on. Maybe this is our day of reckoning.
Or…. Perhaps this is the final act…. And there is a spotlight and it is on all of us now.
The events of today and tomorrow, the dialogue that we are recording at this very moment, the actions that we do or don’t do, may be read many years from now like stories. Just as we read about World War 2, The Great Depression, World War 1, The Spanish Flu, The Civil War and further into history, we too will become just that…. History. Those who lived it will fade from existence and all that will be left is that of which has already been written.
How do you want the world to look back at this stage of civilization? How do you want your story to be told? Don’t you want to be remembered as the billions of people who helped their neighbors, projected hope, and prioritized life over luxury? Let them not learn of the heroes or villains, but rather of the people, who’s true colors painted a picture of strength, of courage, of resilience, and of sacrifice.
A picture of a modern day great awakening. The new found spirit of mankind. A picture that truly will be priceless.
by: Cody J. Elms
Dear Life as We Know It,
It’s been a minute hasn’t it?
Now we know what you’re thinking, “This is too soon. We need time.”
We agree. We truly do. It’s just that, well…We’ve had some time to process everything that happened between us, and you know, things just ended so abruptly that so much was left unsaid. Maybe that is a good thing. Sometimes just walking away is better than trying to work things out. Like ripping off a Band-Aid. Let’s face it, we all hate change, but this could be the best way forward.
Either way, it hasn’t been so easy on our end now that we are without you. We know we had some good times, but even the bad times, they really don’t seem so bad in hindsight.
Like, remember that time that everyone was eating Tide Pods? Wow! That was crazy! We thought, “How could it get any worse than this?”
Damn, what we would give to see a new video of someone eating a Tide Pod and know that that is the worst thing we’d see all day.
Anywhoozle, the real reason we are writing you is because we need to come to terms with reality. It’s been quiet here. People are a bit scared, and unlike before, they don’t have you to comfort or distract them. We know we agreed to it, we had to, but you taking sports, restaurants, and movie theaters with you has really left a void. We are not so sure we’ll ever be the same. Now perhaps we are being a bit dramatic. It’s been known to happen. We just never imagined a world without you in it.
Reflecting however, we have realized that there’s a chance that we could have, possible, in a way, taken advantage of you. We know, we know. “Let’s not dwell on the past,” but come on…don’t act like you weren’t thinking it too.
We fought over minor obstacles you threw at us, we got upset with each other over insignificant events, and quite frankly, we prioritized ourselves throughout our entire relationship. We’ll say it, we were selfish, narcissistic, spoiled partners. We didn’t deserve you.
So here we are, facing the future not knowing if we’ll ever be able to go back to the way it was. We understand we are calling this a break, but we know how breaks usually end. We don’t mean to be pessimistic, just that we are now coming to grips with what giving you up truly meant.
We do think there are some positives for us personally from all of this, if you care to hear them.
We have learned how valuable our often-overlooked commodities are. We understand now that we were probably moving too fast for our own good, and that although we don’t wish to be halted longer than we have to be, we might just move a little slower, take in a little more of life, and accept the world we are given as opposed to fighting for one we may never achieve. The grass is often times not greener, and right now, we seem to have no grass at all. So, it is up to us to plant the seeds in the empty field where we stand, and hope that as we watch it grow this time, we don’t rush to the fence in envy.
Life as We Know It, you have presented us with an opportunity that we promise this time we will not let go to waste.
Until we speak again, good luck and farewell.
by Cody J. Elms
I would say that I was surprised by the last several weeks, but let’s be honest, no one is. From hoarding of toilet paper to cases of water for bathing (Yes I heard someone say, “bathing,” which still has me somewhat baffled), the line between logical reaction and irrational panic one would think would be fairly distinct, however it appears that it is not only blurred, but basically an Etch A Sketch. Shaken just a little, and it disappears all together.
With my sarcastic and occasional dark sense of humor, it has been difficult to hold back some of the softballs for jokes, but thus far I have done well. Mostly, because despite popular belief, I don’t want to be that a**hole.
Here’s the deal, as cliché as it may seem, we don’t always have to agree to get along. Therefore I have compiled a list of suggestions on how to avoid being that a**hole during the COVID-19 crisis.
This may come as a bit of a shock to some, but this is not the Apocalypse. At least there hasn’t been any proof of such a dire outcome. Now this has been beaten into the ground over the last 72 hours, but basically, if you don’t want to be that a**hole, then don’t clear the shelves of soap, toilet paper, water, food, or literally anything else. Take what you would need for approximately two to three weeks and move along. A good rule of thumb is, if you don’t drink a case of water in one week, why would you think you’d drink 10 in three weeks? There are people out there, who do not have the financial or physical ability to over buy, and by individuals clearing shelves out of pure ignorance and panic, they are depriving others of the basic essentials to live their lives. Yeah, don’t be an a**hole..
If Not You, Maybe Them
I get it. You’re 25, in shape, eat right, and run 10 miles a day. Bravo! You’re not the person sane people are particularly concerned about, despite your outstanding capacity of believing the world is yours to rule. This is not an attack on young people, but more so an awaking that it’s your parents and grandparents that you need to be cautious for. If you want to get together, socialize, travel, and do all the things that medical professionals as well as state and federal officials are telling you not to do, by all means, hammer down, but after you’re done with your COVID-19 World Tour, stay away from anyone with health issues or of an older age. Again, don’t be an a**hole.
Time and a Place
Your politics don’t matter. I’ll repeat that...Your politics do not matter. Yes, things could have been handled differently. How? Hell if I know, but worldwide, it could have been handled better. Here’s the thing, there will be a time and a place for politics. A time and a place for backing or attacking the President. A time and a place for claiming political victory or defeat. That time and place is not now. While you spend hours sharing memes and horribly misinformed opinions into your Facebook and Twitter echo chambers, you could instead be helping to alleviate the burden on others. That’s not to say you have to, but if you have the energy to dedicate to social media warfare, you certainly have the energy to assist your community in whatever way they need. However, if you want to be an a**hole, then keep doing what you’re doing.
Fear, Faith, Fuel, and Funny
You may not be afraid, but there are people who are. There are people who fall into the unfortunate group of being the most affected by COVID-19. So if they believe prayer will help them, do not mock them. Their faith does you no harm. If they believe that taking some extra vitamins will keep their immune systems strong, then encourage them to do so to keep that positive mindset. If humor is the way they deal with the harsh reality shown throughout the media of events across the world, then by all means, let them laugh. The point here is, it is not up to us to dictate how others deal with their fear. As long as what they do doesn’t hurt others or put them in harm's way, then as Paul McCartney once famously sang, “Let it be.”
...Oh and don’t be an a**hole...Paul McCartney may or may not have said that once. I don't know...Google it.
by Cody J. Elms
She can’t do that.
Less than 24 hours following International Women’s Day, I find myself trying figure out precisely why there is such disdain for women breaking out of traditional roles and into the unknown. Or in essence, expecting to be treated as equals. Jealousy? The good old days? A strange fear that they may take over? Maybe all three and then some.
On August 18, 1920 the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution, which states, “The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
I truly believe this amendment from 100 years ago is where some people believe women became equal to men in the United States. Truth is, this was the very beginning of a movement that is still ongoing today. For the following 30-40 years, more than half of the U.S. population did not believe wives should be part of the work force. Yet, we see images of “Rosie the Riveter” and assume that is when women were accepted into the working world. Another milestone that men often point to as a moment of equality, and essentially the end of the discussion.
Well, let’s talk about it.
See, I could work my way throughout the last century, detailing every accomplishment in the women’s equality movement, but that would lead to a very dry read for many, albeit extremely eye opening and educational, but instead I’ll chalk it up to this; Throughout history, what has come at ease for men, women had to work hard for, what has come with hard work for men, women had to work twice as hard for, and what has been deemed impossible for men, women have, on occasion, made it possible. This is a fact. You may roll your eyes, look away, or think it’s some MSNBC propaganda to emasculate your ‘culture’ but in reality, what some groups of women have endured in just one day of their lives throughout the last 100-years of equality, has been more than most men will in a lifetime.
Now flash forward to 2020, and imagine for a moment believing that based upon your sex, you have a specific role in society when it comes to your profession, athletics, education, or lifestyle. Imagine for a moment that everything is preordained, never to be changed, altered, built upon, or evolved. If that is your thought, then you are not living in 2020; You are living in 1920.
For example, one of the most traditionally masculine sports is wrestling. It is a sport predominantly dominated by males, and has had a very awkward reaction to female competitors, however, with each passing year more and more females have entered the sport. They aren’t just participating either, they are competing. Need proof? Her name is Heaven Fitch. Look her up and you’ll find articles plastered with an image of her atop the podium as a North Carolina State Champion. Heaven is just the beginning.
Male dominated environments that have had difficulty accepting women have ranged from politics to sports to manufacturing, and yet each and every time, sooner or later, women have had to prove ‘them’ wrong.
Maybe we as men are protective of what we have dominated for so long. We are paranoid that the influx of women in our testosterone filled world will somehow dethrone us as kings. Maybe our throwback ideology that we masquerade as ‘old fashioned’ is finally being seen for what is…outdated. Maybe we need to stop using fear propaganda to hold women back when the true ones that are scared are us. Or maybe, just maybe when we feel uncomfortable or awkward with a woman trying to compete with us, we need to accept that that is a man problem and not a woman one.
Our great grandmothers, grandmothers and mothers had to take the brunt of this sexism on their fight to the surface, all so that the young women of today could breech, grow, and stand tall with ‘the boys.’
She can’t do that? Well, she can do that, she will do that, and one day those who said she can’t will say, “she did that.”