Assuming and Judging

This was going to be a blog directed to Facebook–until I realized they are mirroring their biases as well as those of others. I had figured it was their tweaky algorithm set up but it isn’t limited to that. What awakened me to this? The tale unfolds as follows:

In response to a post on FB, I referred to the book titled The Ugly American. I used the name of the book to illustrate how the USA is looked upon by the world in our present state and under our present administration. The first time I used the term, I went to FB jail for three days, not allowed to comment or share. I went against their “Community Standards.” Hmmmm… considering what I have seen and/or read on the FB sites, I laughed but had to leave FB since I love to share and comment. Then recently, I referred to the book once again and immediately was thrown in FB jail for the term. I had to come to the conclusion that the algorithms or the persons behind them were illiterate and had never heard of nor read The Ugly American–which I highly recommend by the way. But this time I went to Twitter to inform FB friends what happened. Then I saw others suffering the same plight, with one referring to their ban as being “zuckerpunched.” It fit. I have also known others who have been “zuckerpunched” or FB banned over animal pics. Go figure. But today I got thrown in FB jail for 7 days! I was only out for one day and right back in. Granted, I did make a sarcastic comment about Tiffany Trump and her speech. But then I also slammed the Kenosha, WI police chief for blaming the murder of two protesters on they, the dead, while not blaming the kid with the assault weapon who walked away until they decided to arrest him for murder. Everyone is probably more than aware of all of it but I find it despicable that the same police chief who’s officer shot 7 times into the back of a black man, let a white kid walk away from mowing down two protesters. For some reason (sarcasm here), I wanted to puke I was so enraged. Apparently, either making a remark about Tiffany or slamming the white police chief for what I felt was a great act of stupidity and “white” racist mentality was grounds for a 7 day ban. Personally, I hope BOTH upset FB since they post crap that upsets yours truly all the time. But that still doesn’t tell you about why this blog is no longer directed just at them.

I resorted to Twitter, which I do find more diverse and unbiased for the most part, and retweeted and commented as I read. Then, out of the blue, a person who shall not be named, responded to my response to a tweet. This person called me a “hater,” said I was a bot, and a few other cute things. Since the person (I will acknowledge it to be female) can’t ban me from Twitter, I simply responded with the laughing emoji, laughing as I did it, and promptly forgot it. Obviously, she took offense because after a while, she stated the laugh was on me and something to the affect that I was less than intelligent and stuff similar. Hmmmmm… Having no desire to do online battle with such an emotive individual, I responded by saying if she did not care for my responses, “…simply don’t read them. Problem solved.” She has not gone on, yet, but it set me thinking. I am not angry–disgusted maybe–but not upset. At least not by her. But by her assumption and judgment. This woman does not know me. Just as I do not know her. She has no idea what kind of person I am. Further, with no pic in my profile, she has no idea of my skin color, ethnicity, likes, dislikes, etc. But she fired off I was a hater and a bot. WOW!

So the brain kicks into gear. Ok. Got banned by FB for an opinion. (Admittedly sarcastic). But they don’t know much about me, either. EXCEPT that I am liberal, believe Black Lives Matter, a woman’s body is hers and not legislators’ to rule, love is love and not defined by sex with only one gender, that churches should follow their god and not some multi-million minister who tells them to do one thing and does another, and I believe caring for and helping your fellow human should be the first thing you think of when you see the homeless, the kids separated from their parents, when people are hurt or scared, and I detest bullies. Hey! Maybe she was right! I do hate bullies! So I am a hater, right? The other thing she does not know about me is I adore animals, all animals, kids, music, art, honest people, people who do what they say, people without an agenda, and would literally die for those I love. Not follow–LOVE.

So do I hate her? No. I don’t know her. I can’t see in her heart or mind. Am I going to “pay” for my comments. FB seems to want to make me pay, but she can’t–I hope. My point? How much of this crap is out there in cyberland? Where people name call and judge, based on assumptions, without ever knowing the person? Why was I angry at the Kenosha police chief? Because I felt he allowed an assumption that since Jacob Blake was black he was a threat and was shot 7 times–i.e. judge, jury, executioner. What has happened to humanity? It has always, forever, needed work–but now hate and assumptions and judgment are brazenly exercised with absolutely no thought as to who a person is! WHAT is in their heart? Can we say if we don’t know them? In some ways, we can as we watch their actions–especially a repeated pattern of actions. But can we say anyone of color is a threat when the person is walking away? Can we say if someone steps in to stop a brutal act they are a person against a political persuasion or should be harmed, also? What has happened? I know great people and I know people that are assholes. But I know them and their behaviors.

Algorithms may determine I offended community standards, set up by a community I don’t know, and according to the person I don’t know who put the algorithms in place. But I don’t buy it and neither should you without requesting more information. The female who seemed offended by my response to a tweet lashed out and I don’t know her. Who knows? Maybe she didn’t sleep well last night or she’s worried about something. No assumptions, no judgments. But we ALL need to take a breath, step back, and realize that in our current culture, the usual seems to be to react rather than respond. It sounds cliche` but we are all in this together no matter how much us vs them is spouted. Remember Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice,” where the main speaker, being derided for being a Jew says, to paraphrase, if you cut me do I not bleed? And similarities such as that. If you cut an immigrant, a gay, lesbian, trans, black, white, Asian, etc. person–do they not bleed? Sure, there are good and bad you have to watch for. But remember, there is an asshole in every group, every race, every political party, every profession on earth, every gender, and every religion. But there are good people in all of the aforementioned.

Can we change it? Not until we know the persons and ourselves. So, since no one can know everyone, let the people around you be the ones you get to know, to understand, to help or–sadly–to walk away from. Just please, please don’t assume and judge. Every human deserves that from one another, don’t you agree?


What if…

No one enjoys a good yell, foot-stomping, and protest against injustice more than we do. No one. But this evening we received a message with people around the world joining to perform John Lennon’s “Imagine.” We began to wonder as the tears rolled at the beauty of such a dream and we wondered–what if?

What if all protesters marched in silence? What if we all carried signs for “Black Lives Matter” with “Imagine” playing in the background–never saying a word? What if the people of Portland stood silent, with signs protesting, simply standing between the protesters and the hired mercenaries? Can you IMAGINE what that would look like on film? Written about by journalists? No words, only the aggression of the federal mercenaries? Would make it kind of hard to justify the unnamed “police” being there, wouldn’t it?

Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis advocated peaceful demonstrations. They both changed the USA admirably. They inspired their followers, gave personkind a reason to work towards bettering humanity, a sense of love for all people. It was appalling to see the protesters fire-hosed, beaten, attacked and the world noticed. The protesters had done nothing to provoke the cops and haters. See? And it outraged the complacent, stirred the compassionate, and change came. Granted not near enough change, but a step forward instead of back.

So what if? What if we gave them no fuel for their fires of hate? Nothing they could point to as justification for their aggressive actions, the tear gas, the beating, the HATE? Others in other countries have tried it against authoritarian regimes, injustice and hate. What if we did? How could they explain or spin their actions against our people? If we are silent, let our signs speak, merely stand our ground–how are we provoking them?

We cry for our people, for Black Lives Matter, for the oppression of all who are on the fringes and struggling to simply survive both a pandemic and use of force against them as rights are trampled and spit upon. Our heart breaks over and over as do the hearts of those in our nation who are having their voices quelled, fear as deadly as tear gas overwhelming them.

We will simply stand. Quiet with our sign. Not moving. We will silently let the federal gestapo show itself for what it is–unAmerican and unconstitutional. We will not be baited. With those in the federal halls trying to quiet us, we will rise silently so that they yell louder and louder. They show themselves for what they are. Give a fool enough rope and he will hang himself. Let them do the work of destroying themselves so we can survive and go on.

That’s what we think.

Control or Flow?

She listened…sort of. She heard, “You can’t control what others think, feel, or how they respond to you. You speak your truth and they take what they are willing to hear or absorb and you move on. DON’T CARRY THEIR RESPONSE WITH YOU! Let it just be–let it go.” She nodded, as the voices in her head countered the words as quickly as they entered her ears from outside. “But…but… injustice? Fairness? Making it right? What about knowing they can be better off if…” Then she glanced up at the friend trying to save her from herself, her almost too empathic heart that was its own Don Quixote out tipping the windmills to make things different. She saw an eye roll, a sad face searching her own. Both the listener and the speaker sighed.

She knew the conversation would not be taking place if her friend didn’t truly care. Not a word would have been said. Maybe a shrug or dismissal, a change of subject as she bemoaned the state of current events from tears to rage flooding her. No, you don’t call someone on something detrimental to them, offer advice to help another if you didn’t care. But…once the advice, the caring is shared, it is ultimately up to the receiver of such advice to choose to listen or not, apply it or not, offer it and allow freedom of choice or… Then she heard, “Would you want to control others? Make them think a certain way regardless? All a bunch of people with one mindset?” That required an immediate and present response! “Of course not!” she said. “Just offer it and let them each choose. We don’t want a bunch of automatons running around!” And her head and heart joined to conclude, “It’s the differences that make people so wonderful and diverse–that make us human… that can spawn both good and evil, love and hate. No, no one should have complete and total control.” A deep breath and even deeper inner sigh. There was no percentage in controlling people and their beliefs and actions if they themselves didn’t want it or desire it. Control was its own worst enemy in the realm of free thought and choice. Another sigh and dilemma internally. A universal truth that had plagued humankind since the beginning was weighing heavy. Then…

There was a smile. A genuine, from the heart smile. It lit up the face. She looked at it, and felt it moving into her being. What had brought it on? She didn’t know, didn’t question. She just absorbed it. It was flowing from the friend to her. She found herself smiling also. The penetrating and overwhelming questions that had created consternation and confusion melted with the warmth of the smile. They slid into the background with other rhetorical questions and puzzlements that would never be answered by the heart that sought so much without appreciating what it already had. She smiled and smiled. Why? Because it felt good and she felt in the “flow” of it. She was no longer bucking or fighting something–she was literally flowing with the intense enjoyment of the simple smile offered.

She thought of this as she still smiled, hours later, in her room, alone with her thoughts. No, she couldn’t control others, make them feel the empathy and passion she felt–and she knew she didn’t truly want to. But she could share a smile, without words or explanation, and leave it up to those she smiled at to decide to “go with the flow” or choose not to. And it wasn’t her responsibility to choose for them, worry about their choice, or carry their decision with her. No control, but literally and figuratively, flowing with the good feeling from smiling and sharing the smile.

Her connotation of CONTROL brought mental images of cages, walls, restrictive bindings around heads and hands and feet. Her connotation of FLOW offered images of water bouncing over rocks, sand, moving with the natural gravity that allows it to keep going without stopping to question that one large rock or push the small pebble it washes over. She thought how water always soothed and calmed her, gave her a feeling of life and continuity. She remembered the pain of being controlled and how she fought so hard NOT to be controlled…And the smile…

The next day, she rose early, went outside to watch the birds, the awakening activity of the neighborhood. As others came out of their houses, she simply focused on them and when they looked toward her, she smiled. That’s all. Just smiled. ALL persons wound up returning the smile, even after some seemed hesitant at first. No words, just a smile. They departed doing their thing, still wearing the smile they chose to absorb–going with the flow. No control, no admonitions–just the people who saw her returning her smile. Would she have been disappointed had they not smiled back? No. It was there for them. Take it or leave it. But her own smile was more radiant, reaching deeper within her…because she was going with the FLOW. She knew the day ahead and the days to come were going to be good.

June 1, 2020–Let’s Talk

There are so very many things that could be said today. So very many things could have been said in the previous days, and have been. We wrote our fair share during these days, but deleted them. They wouldn’t have helped. But neither did our tears, our outrage, our thoughts whirling with love, hate, frustration. So NOW, we are ready to talk-not rant or rave- just talk.

We taught a class at Bakersfield College and one topic we covered was the Dust Bowl and Jerry Stanley’s book, Children of the Dust Bowl. The students weren’t interested all that much, it was so long ago and no one seemed to care much– until we started talking about the discrimination the “Okies” were subjected to, right in our own city, county. Then there was disbelief that their parents, grandparents, would even begin to allow such a thing or possibly be part of the problem in discriminating against some poor white people forced from their homes by the act of nature called the dust bowl. When faced with the truth of hate towards the Okies, the injustices and mistreatment of these people who were forced to come to Kern County looking for work, a way to feed and care for their families, they started to look at us with amazement as the facts became real. Then we heard such things as, “That would never happen now! We wouldn’t discriminate like that NOW!” We knew they needed to realize that yes, we do. As humans, we eat our own when they are different. Be they handicapped, different skin color, different language, differences in economy…Yes, we discriminate.

As they swallowed this and started to digest it, recognizing the reality of it, they began to say (for the most part) they were glad they weren’t being discriminated against and they would never do that to others–not in this day and age of 2012. So we gave them an assignment. They needed to write only a one page essay about a time in their individual life when they were the one that was different. More importantly, they were to describe how it felt being the one targeted. Now these were white, Latino, African American, Asian students of different backgrounds, cultures, religions, come together to get an education. There were 26 students in all. They looked at us like we were crazy but the assignment was due next class session. It turned out we opened some old and deep wounds with that assignment. Here are a few examples.

One quiet girl offered that when in second grade, she had been made to feel different because she had red hair. No big deal, huh? Shrug it off. But she couldn’t. She started cutting her hair short, wearing a baseball cap every day so she could hide it. It still hurt to be excluded because of her red hair and the pain was still real as she wrote the essay. She was now 19 years old and had tried to color her hair over and over to avoid ever being ridiculed again. She said she wanted to hide, was so ashamed she had contemplated suicide at times. She asked if that was discrimination. We told her yes, it was, and she was a beautiful girl and we found her red hair fascinatingly gorgeous!

A young man wrote that he loved working with metal sculptures and had been derided for loving art, called names, shunned because he’d rather work sculpting metal than play football, or go out for a sport. He was continually called a faggot, trash-canned, laughed at. He said his dad had talked to him repeatedly about doing “manly” things instead of his art. He knew he was different and he hated it–so yes, he knew about discrimination. He still resented it.

Another young woman said she was going to confess. We held our breath before we dove into that essay. She had been in foster care since she was 6 years of age. Her clothes were always hand-me-downs, she had not gotten the “good” or caring foster parents she deserved, but a high school teacher told her she was talented and should try college and here she was, scared to death, abused by the system meant to help her, and her question at the end of the essay was did we think she was too dumb to be in our class. NO was our answer, and admiration for her surviving a terribly rough life and carrying on. How did she feel about being “different”? Mostly defeated, but more–alone and unseen.

Those are three examples. But what came across loudly, clearly, was that discrimination kills the spirit, isolates, foments defeat, creates a desperate anger and resentment from not being seen or heard for who they were, inside! Their minds, their spirits, their true being regardless of color, circumstances, advantages or disadvantages–never seen or heard. And for the reader, each of these students was of a different race/ethnicity. The girl with the red hair was white and still not recognized for her true self.

The students brought buckets of tears to our eyes and heart. Sadness for their pain, joy for them to become aware that they are like each other with the same human hearts, minds, need to be heard and loved, accepted on their merit. They, laughing with relief at this sudden revelation and obvious love they were sharing in this diverse classroom, confronted us with how we had been discriminated against in our lifetime. It was a golden opportunity to drive a deeper truth home and without hesitation, we told them we grew up under the classification of “poor white trash” as a kid but even though we held that label, at least we weren’t black in the south where we lived during that time. We watched their faces, then explained. Humanity cannot claim superiority over other persons unless they can say “at least I’m not like those people!” We were poor white trash, but we weren’t black so we were better. We watched some faces light up with the new knowledge. We saw others puzzling over it. We brought it back to the okies, full circle. Sure, your parents or grandparents may have been the poorest citizens of Kern County, but at least they weren’t dumb okies. Now they were superior to some others, no longer at the bottom. Faces showed understanding, some eyes became glassy with tears, others began to turn red with embarrassment. Point taken.

White people, all people, eat their own so they can be superior. Former friends, because we’ve lost a few over this issue, would say there really isn’t discrimination or racism anymore–not now. It’s just lazy people who want to whine, sap the system, and on and on… No, it is the need to feel superior that makes them make those judgments of others they see as different. Our students, when discussing how they felt being shunned, ignored, ridiculed, shoved out to the edges, began to look at each other differently. Since we have retired, sometimes we have gotten messages from them that the class on the okies meant more to them than anything else we studied. And we are pleased. Today we feel we know where some of our students are–marching and protesting for justice and equality for black people who are the okies they came to understand in a class at the college and they can identify with not being treated fairly, justly, through no fault of their own. At least we pray they have not forgotten their own pain so they can identify with this need to be heard and understood and not abused and discriminated against.

As we told them then, we would remind them now–people hurting, being unjustly harmed, killed, abused bleed just like they do, cry just like they do, and need to be seen and heard–just like they did and do. No one is better than another by virtue of what they have, what their race, religion, sexual orientation is. Humans need to realize they don’t have to be superior to another for worth or value. It is time–long past time– to recognize this and fight for it!

We left them with this thought and we will leave it here tonight for you, the reader–there is no one you cannot learn from–NO ONE. Respect and remember that and LEARN. Keep marching for Justice and Peace. HUMANITY IS ONE IN THIS!

Also, you should know that this is a TRUE recounting. This is not fiction. Remember what you felt when you were targeted. Think of it when you want to say we don’t discriminate. We are not racist. Because yes, we do and yes we are. Remember your pain, multiply it by years, and let’s make it right!

Finally-Sans Peur et Sans Reproche-Our Promo

It is very, very hard for us to promote our own work. We have no problem promoting, reviewing, even raving about the works of others. Nothing makes us feel better! But to promote our own work? We go into a flurry of embarrassment and our almost innate drive to be invisible. No, we are not ashamed of what we write, or paint, but we have always been fearful to be seen and heard as paradoxically, we fight for ourselves and others to be seen and heard. Ahhh–the dilemma. But now we will dare! It is time. So please read and take our promo pitch to heart for our latest book, Letters, for this time it is truly sans peur et sans reproche.

In this time of covid19, self isolation, and social distancing, Letters reflects how we can all still connect. Letter writing in itself is healing. How often do we say, “Oh, if I had only said this…” or “I should have said that when I had the chance…”. This book does that with letters written to those that have influenced the journey of the authors’ lives and taught lessons along the way. Many are poignant, some humorous, some angry at injustices, but all express human emotion and truth from the perspective of the writer(s). Often things can be written that are hard to say aloud to the one you admire, love, who has been an inspiration– or words that are bottled up in indignation that would not come verbally. Letters covers the full spectrum, from one end to the other. Why should you read it? Because it is an interactive book, unique in that at the end of each letter written is the opportunity and space for you, the reader, to write your own letter to mirror your reading. It is the reader’s chance to put pen to paper and say what was never said. In stressing what was learned from each one written to–be it animal or human, present or past–a life journey was influenced.

This author was diagnosed with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) and the letters are signposts, red flags, and banners of sustaining hope that lend themselves to learning how the DID came about and allowed love and survival to triumph.

Read Letters. Think about the people in your life’s journey and all they taught you, good and bad. Reflect on your choices. Then write your letters. We are not alone, any of us, even in this time of isolation and separation. Everyone influences everyone else. Reflection in reading Letters could surprise you that these people or animals come to mind. Connect.

Thank you for reading…and be assured there will be another book of letters to come.

You can order at Amazon.com, author Judy Kukuruza. Or easily go to the link: amzn.to/3eGRuRV.

Feel free to rate and review!

As the title says, Sans peur et sans reproche– without fear and without reproach. From the heart.

#26 Just WHO is the Alien?

“Did you hear that?”

“No, what?”

“That HUMAN!

“No, I don’t often listen to them, just observe.”

“Well, that human just used one of our words and claimed it just came to her in a dream or vision or whatever! The nerve! To steal one of our words…and then claim it! I tell you, they are beyond fathoming! Always taking credit for what we do, what words we have, the knowledge we bestow claiming it is THEIRS!”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Don’t be going spronkers on me, now, please. You know this happens all the time. I told you to stick to natural beings, didn’t I? Like the animals–the four footed ones–or the natural elements. I warned you and yet you take it so…so…as the humans say–personally. They can’t help it, really, you know. They cannot entertain original thoughts or ideas.”

“But to claim it as their own! And of all our fantastic words–she chooses spronk? It’s just more than I can deal with. Why not the great words from the great minds that were our mentors? Like uzrik? Or prisk? Those words can change a world! They carry depth and meaning and she is delighted with spronk? Humans are so limited and underdeveloped!”

“I know, I know. And right now, they have little to do but dream what they call their “quarantine dreams,” and let us filter our thoughts into theirs. Why did you plant spronk into her dreams? You detest that word!”

“I don’t know. Well…maybe she heard me calling her and her species spronks over and over.”

“And why did you do that?”

“I was full of uzrik at how non-discerning they are! True, I lowered myself to their level by childishly calling their species spronks, but nothing would get through of any portent! It is as if they have two, maybe three thoughts that are malleable and the rest are like random atoms bouncing around in a vast infinity of empty space!”

“Sadly, I understand the depth of uzrik and your desire to fill the human mind with prisk, but you know we can only do what we can. Some are beginning to see that their world has actually become better, their animal life more prolific since they have been forced to stay indoors, afraid of spreading the virus they call Covid19. Such an odd name for the carrier of death and destruction…hmmmm. Nevertheless, some of their species see what they have wrought on their own planet. But their ability to rise from base instincts to logical and scientific explanations seems to escape them. And actually, if they weren’t so attached to things like–what do they call them? Cars? Planes? Their bartering papers? Yes, I remember, money. Everything is at their disposal if they could explore with their minds and not their desire to attain all those symbols. Remember we used to be similar to them.”

“True, I guess. But it didn’t take us as long as it is taking them to evolve. If it weren’t for this wave of a microbe forcing them to stop and look at what is important…well…who knows if they would not have blown parts of their planet toward ours, loaded with radiation and disposable chemicals? And are they going to learn from this? Watching, I have to wonder. I am ready to leave and report back. I see them as hopeless. Shall we go?”

“I suppose we should…but…”

“But what? They will annihilate themselves and we will simply come back to salvage what is useful to our planet. We are through here.”

“There is something that pulls me to learn from them. Something that…though lacking in logic and reasoning, scientific exploration and the understanding they lack… Have you seen their gestures? Their norts? Really looked into them?”

“Such things do not interest me. I have all the data required. Let’s transport and be gone.”

“Wait. I have looked into their norts. I have seen them overflow with moisture. I have watched their gestures. They reach towards each other–a hand will extend and they remember they cannot touch–and their norts overflow with the moisture. What is it that makes this happen? Why do the humans need to touch so? I’ve watched the young ones do what they call hugging of their parent figures, and of others. I’ve seen them sit with the animals and they communicate with touch as well as with their minds. What is this? What makes them smile with listening to music? Or having a young one hug them? I have seen sole survival turn into this thing they call caring for one outside themselves. True, they may not have great brain capacity, but there is something they have that we lack. I want to understand and quantify this, discover just what it is. Aren’t you curious at all?”

“No. A spronk is a spronk. They have nothing I desire to learn from them. Oh, and I know what they call this display of moisture and the touching and such. They call it kum-pass-yun or luv. Makes no logical sense. None at all. Can we go now?”

“Just in a moment. Hmmmm…my mind bank says it is compassion–to deeply care for another, and love which comes from their Greek forbears and it is simply reduced to also caring more for another than self. Interesting. Even those who cannot hear and use gestures to communicate have a symbol for love. They cross their arms over their chest. Like this–it feels good. Try it. But wait. One more thing. Come into my space.”

“Whatever for? This is not logical. But if I do enter your space, then can we leave?”

“Yes. Come. Just stand in front of me. I want to experience the hug.”

The one alien hugged the other and slowly…slowly, the other alien hugged the one in return. Both stood looking at each other in awe. Slowly they smiled, ever so slightly, at each other.

“I liked that.”

“So did I. Let us stay awhile longer to learn from these spronks. I think we will understand why they have survived this long. Agreed?”

They nodded to each other.

“Should we quit the hug now?”

“Maybe…in awhile…”

#25 Spronk

From sunrise to sunset, the mind can be occupied with crossword puzzles, electronic games, going outside, coming inside, etc. For instance, we can go out and beckon the crows and even the small birds that hop around on the grass to keep one eye on us, the other looking for something to grab and fly off with. But the crows? They caw at us, swoop, letting us know they know we are out, and then lighting on a lamp post or the mailbox to turn and caw out, “Still watching?” And we drink our coffee and we do watch. But from dusk, then the darkness, we may go out briefly, but then go back in to read, watch TV, and the mind wonders and wanders. We come up with some really cool topics to blog about after we reach a certain place behind our shuttered eyelids. Sometimes we come up with a whole novel, novella, essay in that land of words. Some are funny, some are depressing, some are just plain weird! Like last night and early this morning before the dawn. Our dreams, if you can call this mind meandering a dream, kept throwing out the word “spronk.” Now, we have command of a pretty large vocabulary, but spronk? It began to bug us, so we got up, turned on the light, got out the Oxford dictionary and the Webster dictionary and guess what? There is no such word! Ta Da! We had a new word–coined or whatever–and we broke it down where it could be a noun, a verb, an adjective…really anything we wanted it to be. Next, in our foggy state after crawling back into bed, we started making up sentences using it. And you know what? It could be and is one cool word. We’ll share our word with you because we just know Webster will pick up on it, it is that good.

SPRONK (n.) He/she is a spronk. Individual with limited capacity for intelligent and deductive thinking. (v.) The man spronked around trying to appear he knew what he was doing to any watchers. (adj.) People are given to presenting a facade when in fact they are lame, spronking individuals. (expletive) Dumb spronker.

When we got up with the sun, spronk was still playing with our thoughts. We met our friend in another city neither of us was too familiar with, distanced, wore masks, ordered take-out, and sat in our individual cars to chat and eat–safely distanced. It was a frustrating experience as we so wanted the forbidden human touch contact– a hug, squeeze of a hand–you know. And the word spronk popped up in our head when we were talking with her. We talked about those that we had both experienced in this time of safe distancing at grocery stores when necessary trips had to be made. How some would not wear a mask, not observe distancing, and be less than nice about running you over in line or in an aisle. Yeah, real spronks. We were both dismayed, angered by their lack of caring and awareness of the virus that surrounds us all. A true spronk is truly a threat to us all and themselves. We talked of Darwin’s natural selection and were sad that some gene pools can breed the idiots much faster than those who can think can reproduce. Again, the word spronk flitted through our thoughts. But the conversation was good, encouraging, a meeting of the minds, and we sadly waved good-bye to each other as we parted in our individual cars. Alone in our car on the way home, we kept thinking, “Stupid spronkers are going to make this last longer and kill us all while their lame spronking saves their miserable lives because their DNA is as spronked as their minds!” We also added other well known words but there is no need to repeat them here.

We got home, removed our mask, and the man across the street caught our attention. We saw he was trying to mow his lawn with an old worn out power lawn mower. His literally pulling on his hair looked like it might be fun to watch so we sat down on the front porch in the shade and proceeded to play observer. A single crow cawed at us, flew up to perch on the the lamp post, and watched with us. Now this guy was a true spronk in every sense of the word. We knew this was going to be good so we settled in. The guy started the mower and made two swaths across his front yard. The mower bogged, choked, and quit. He tried to restart it with no luck. Mentally, we are telling him, “First check your gas level. Then the oil. Then look under the mower.” He did none of these things. Instead, the spronk wrestled the grass catcher off the back of the mower, looked at it, and shook out a little grass into his waiting garbage bin. Now we are laughing. Mentally, we repeat, “Check your gas, then…” but he already had the mower tipped up and looking under it. Okay. Jump right in–spronk. He kicked the underside with his boot and we could hear some words, but we couldn’t make them out–no matter. His son had come out to see what was happening and by his motions we could tell he wanted the boy to try to start the mower–While he was looking under it! At this point, we pulled our cell phone out of our pocket so we could dial 911 if he chopped his spronking head off in this little escapade. The boy was not big enough to get a good pull on the rope (thank the universe) and retreated into the house. The mower was now lying on its side and we could see the grass packed around and on the blades. The temptation was to yell, “Clean your blades, then the grass packed around them.” But just as we were getting ready to yell, he looked up, saw us looking at him, and slammed the mower back into an upright position. The spronk, who had been spronking around with the mower, was trying to look “good” and proceeded to shove the non-running lawn mower toward his open garage door. Well, so much for mowing the grass. Then he came out with a weed eater. He watched us, we watched him, and he weed whacked his whole front lawn. We just smiled. And we knew why we had thought of the word spronk during the night and early morning.

It was foretold for us to coin the word spronk. It was one of those things just meant to be. That’s why we are so sure Webster’s will add it to their dictionary. We mean, seriously–what better word to describe the people we talked about with our friend and the scene we had just witnessed across the street? So if you need a word, we will let you share and use it. You have to admit–it really is one cool word and no one can get mad at you for using it because they won’t understand what it means. Boy oh boy! Can’t wait to close our eyes tonight! We hope the next word is as cool!

#24 “If I had a hammer…”

We used to sing that song, over and over. Then we’d sing “Sounds of Silence” over and over. Of course, included would be “Yellow Submarine.” Peter, Paul, and Mary. Simon and Garfunkel. The Beatles. Songs we loved, love now, and can sing word for word. They meant a lot to us, in the days of protest and being sure to be heard. And they worked! So many songs that spoke to the young, to the adventurous, to the ones who wanted and brought about change. Oh, how we laugh now, when we remember the dad grumbling about “…darn kids don’t appreciate good music! And the way they dress! No style, no class, long hair…disgusting! Turn it off!” And we pretty much felt the same way about his music, his favorite singers. But we had headphones and would bellow out our songs off key as the music filled our ears and head.

Now? Well, it’s a whole lot of years between then and now. We had kids and they played their music and the only music of theirs we objected to was the heavy metal sometimes. We would ask, “What are the words? Can’t figure out the words.” Our kids would laugh and keep dancing and enjoying and we would just shrug and enjoy the pounding beat. But we didn’t protest their music as ours had been protested. No, music is music, and we can go from one genre to another without much problem.

We look back, pull up youtube to listen to all kinds of music, and escape now as we did when younger. But sometimes…in a silly or capricious mood…we change the words to fit us now. We had a good laugh the other day while singing and changing the lyrics to “If I had a hammer…” Yep, if I had a hammer now, I would have to sing–“If I had a hammer… I’d bash my fingers flat as a nail… I’d hammer holes in the wall…all over the room… I’d hammer out furniture, I’d hammer out wiring, I’d hammer out curse word, to all my fellow humans, all over the land…” How times change, right? (Where’s the band-aids?)

Then I would sing “Sounds of Silence.” “Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to take a nap again…” Yes, times change. But “Yellow Submarine”? Oh, yeah! That one we rarely change and never when we’ve toked up. Yes! “We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine…” We wish! But fun to imagine, right? Some songs never need to be altered nor the circumstances under which we bellow along with them. They just fit then and they fit now…right?

One more we neglected to mention by Simon and Garfunkel–“Feelin’ Groovy.” In these days of isolation, what could be more appropriate? “Hello lamppost, whatcha knowin’? I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’. Ain’t you got no rhymes for me? Doo-it-ta doo doo–feelin’ groovy…” The only thing that would be weird is if the lamppost answered. Of course there’s always the possibility… 🙂

#23 Rhymes

“Jack be nimble

Jack be quick

Jack jumped over the candlestick.”

(And singed all the hair off his legs.)

As a kid, this last line HAD to be added, giggled over, shouted out with glee. Now, however, with time no longer pertinent, and a wandering mind, there are points to be pondered. Agreed?

  1. Who the heck is Jack? the one that went up the hill with Jill? We know he took a bad bump. Hmmmm…
  2. Why did Jack have to be quick to jump over a candlestick? Was it moving? Taller than him? A flame throwing candle?
  3. Well, we know he made it over. Is this like a participation trophy where you get recognized for jumping over a candlestick? Did he sign up for this? Was he recruited? Did he have to try out to be able to do it?
  4. The last line added by kids who twist rhymes around–If Jack’s legs were hairy enough to singe the hair off them by jumping a candlestick, how old was Jack? Where was the glory in this feat? Was he a swimmer and needed the hair gone anyway and to burn it off was easier than shaving it? It would be funny to see, admittedly, but did it just burn the hair off and not burn his skin?
  5. Finally, who was watching to write this rhyme? And WHY?

See where the mind can go? Anybody know who should be given credit for this perplexing rhyme taught to children from the time they can be verbal? Thank the heavens it wasn’t “Peter Piper picked a pack of pickled peppers…” That one really boggles the mind!

This evening I’ll take on “Little Boy Blue.” That one has some real depth. Wish me luck!

#22 Mark a Heart

Stories of goodness come across as the fight goes on to stay at home, wear face masks, battle depression and fear, and of course Covid19. We don’t know when we have a sore throat, a persistent cough, a headache, a low grade fever if we are at risk of having the virus or spreading it. Yet, we keep on keeping on. Others have come up with online games, have participated in chats via the internet, and even if we don’t participate, it offers hope that others are making it. Now, we would like to suggest something to help us to help ourselves and others. It is the act of consciously Marking a Heart.

The premise is simple. A three year old can do it. A ninety year old and beyond can do it. The rules are few but the rewards for doing it are immeasurable. It can be done for the strongest person you know, or the one you fear for in their weakness. Try it.

MARK A HEART:

  1. return a text with the question “How are you and yours doing?”
  2. admit any frustrations but always say “we know you and we are in this together”
  3. try to say ” I miss you and how you always bring a smile to my face”
  4. point out “you are so good at… can’t wait to be with you again”
  5. tell them about a dream, something you noticed that you wouldn’t have otherwise and share it with them
  6. Always wait for a response and throw out that heart emoji whether a response comes or not

We all mark hearts. Mark someone’s with caring, thinking of them as you go outside yourself and think of them. It may be no one else will, but you can. Nothing makes someone feel less alone than another asking simply “You Okay?”

Simple. You may not be able to hug, see their face light up because you texted, but there just might be a little light in their eyes as they reach for hope again and feel cared about and cared for. So go through your contacts. Text. Let someone know you thought of them. Then they may be there to see you when this passes. And you feel better because you realize you aren’t alone either.

Stay safe. Mark a heart. Peace and Love.