Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Movin' out!

I have to write an essay as a part of my application to the Social Work program, so I'm going to start here with a little pre writing and get everything out of my head.

Sometimes random questions just pop into my head.
If you had a Parkinson's disease patient group picture, would it turn out blurry? I know that's incredibly insensitive, but I really want to know.
Can someone with a prosthetic leg use a urinal? How do they do the little getting 'it' out of your pants dance. Do they wear boxers for easier access?
If you counted all the steps you've taken in your whole life, would there be enough to walk around the world?

I want to live in a place where people don't talk about "my struggle with SSA."
I want to live in a place where being gay isn't a disease to be treated through therapies which don't comply with APA, AMA, and NASW standards.
I want to live in a place where suicide rates for young men don't lead the nation.
I want to live in a place where the state legislature meets with their constituents before a session, not a church.
I want to live in a place where it's not freaking snowing at the beginning of April.
I want to live in a place where I don't have to be like everybody else to be respected.
I want to live in a place where I can continue my work with kids and not be terrified of coworkers and parents finding out my sexuality and assuming I'm a pedophile.
I want to live in a place where the victim is not blamed.
I want to live in a place where having a husband and two kids isn't an "alternative lifestyle."
I want to live in a place where the needs of your neighbor come in at an extremely close second to your own needs.
I want to live in a place where I can listen to broadway musicals, watch America's Next Top Model, get overly excited about the season premier of The Hills, and not have all these things attributed to my sexuality.
I want to live in a place that defines "All American" as something other than a red neck bastard who eats red meat and watches baseball.
I want to live in a place where people don't get rich off of my healthcare.
I want to live in that place the declaration of independence was talking about. A place where I am endowed with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I wish I were in Love Again...

The incredibly talented and beautiful Audra Mcdonald totally sums up where I'm at right now in this great song. Listen. Or don't. I don't really care.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Everyone poops

I listen to a lot of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, not because I like what they say, but because I like to listen to their rants then imagine their penis size and the size of their country music collection. I'm convinced there is a correlation between the two. From what I get from Sean and Rush, the fabric of our society is decaying into a socialist sludge. No where is this more apparent than in public restrooms. Where is the decency?! Where is the outrage?! Where is the etiquette?! Surely Ronald Regan would look from his heavenly palace and feel shame about how far we have fallen. If he saw what our bathroom manners have become he would cry alzheimic tears. It really shows the signs of the times when I walk into a stall with shit in the toilet and pee on the seat. I've thought about it and I think in order to do my part in putting our upside down earth right side up, I'll share my expertise in bathroom etiquette.
  1. If aim is not your strength, whether it be because of size or an inability to touch your own junk, carry cheerios around with you. Drop a few in the toilet and you'll have a great target to assist your stream into the water. The cheerios sink quickly so if you are a long pee'er then be prepared with extra "targets"
  2. A buffer zone of at least 1 urinal or stall is required.
    Nothing is more awkward than making eye contact, through the crack of the stall door, with the culprit of the hilariously loud fart. If you simply must see, do so with much discretion.
  3. Don't be afraid to judge people's character based on these criteria: The shoes you see under the door. If you're at work and you see a nice pair of leather loafers under the door this would indicate an upper managerial position. This means you have the opportunity to share a great story about pinching one off with the boss for your co workers. Be sure to include details such as stink, number of times you heard the toilet paper roll turn, frequency of splash (I.e. lots of little splashes in a row or an occasional big splash.) Another criteria for judgement would be the audible quality of the business. If you hear long wet bottom burps, this would indicate a diet high in Wendy's and low in fiber. If you hear moans, airy farts, but no splashes. Assume that constipation is afflicting this poor soul. Sympathy should be administered and laxatives left on the counter if you have any on hand.
  4. Avoid conversations at the urinal. Exceptions can be made if the conversation started outside the bathroom and migrated into it.
  5. Never ever ever talk on your cell phone while in the bathroom. The bathroom is a sacred place to be respected and not marred by your conversation about Shelly's most recent abortion.
  6. No singing in the bathroom. Whistling is ok.
  7. If you huck a loogie in the urinal, make sure it goes down with the rest of your bodily fluids. Loogies in a toilet can look alarmingly like a different kind of pleasurable secretion.
    If you are going to listen to music while you release your bowels, please be considerate of others. The beats that unclench your sphincter may pucker another's. Keep that in mind.
  8. Take all reading materials with you.
  9. Please stifle all laughter in the bathroom no matter how loud or flabby the sound may be. Act as if you were at a baby birthing, no matter how slimy or disfigured the child is, it is never ok to laugh at it.
  10. Stall writing is an important subject to discuss. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling are important. Remember: your, you're, then, than, their, there, they're, it's, is.
  11. Be honest in all your stall wall messages. If Chad doesn't give great blow jobs, then don't say so on the toilet paper casing. Also make sure that you've written Chad's correct phone number.
  12. Remember, permanent marker does wash off, but etchings are permanent.
  13. Keep your political ideology off the stall wall. Keep it to pictures of anatomy and honest reflections of sexual encounters.

Happy and safe pooping.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

'Its not fair!'

There are two populations of kids that I work with, one with homes, the other without homes. Most of the time these kids’ actions mirror each other, but there are the occasions when a homeless child peels away their innocent skin revealing an individual who has been pounded, by circumstances, into a figure less representative of a child, and more representative of a grown adult. It’s in these moments that I realize how important love, trust, and empathy are.
Alex is a child who gives me many causes to believe that there most definitely some sort of abuse in his past. I’d love to think that this abuse has stopped, but I really don’t know. He’s a super cute kid with quick wit and a contagious laugh.

Monday night I had planned an activity which required the use of rice. “You get one cup of rice. If you choose to dump it on the floor or table you will not be getting another cup.” I explained “Do you guys understand?” They understood.

The floor had remained surprisingly rice free until Alex got frustrated with his sister. His frustration moved him to pick up a cup of rice and throw it across the room. “Alright, that’s it. Let’s go both of you.” I said in a less than pleased tone.

“We can go back to our room yet.” Alex’s sister told me

“Why not?” I replied

“We just can’t.” A simple sentence which, added with her firm facial expression, spoke volumes.
Instead of taking them back to their room, we sat down and talked about what had just happened.

“Alex, when you threw that rice at your sister it made me really mad.” I told him

“I don’t care.” He replied.. His eyebrows furrowed and his lips pressed tight. A big person getting mad because of something he did was nothing new to Alex. I could see the bricks being laid in his emotional blockade.

“Do you understand why that made me mad?” I asked

“I don’t’ care. She gets to have that cardboard tube and I want one too. It isn’t fair.”

“You’re right. That isn’t fair, Alex. That would make me mad too, but we’re not using those tubes for our activity, and I didn’t see your sister get it.”

“I want you to die.”

I excused his sister.

“You sound very angry, Alex. What’s making you angry?”“It’s not fair!”

Heavy tears welled up in his eyes and he hid his face from me. “Let’s go sit somewhere where no one can hear us or see us, ok?” I suggested as I put a reassuring hand on his back.

His body tensed and he growled in a low tone through his tears “Don’t touch me!” with an extra emphasis on the touch. I was taken aback by the rejection of comfort, and the strange way he said “Don’t touch me!” The situation was becoming bigger than a simple fight with his sister about a cardboard tube. Alex was becoming bigger than a 7 year old, which makes sense because his is a situation far bigger than any other 7 year old’s.

I suggested again “Let’s go sit over in that corner and you can tell me what is making you so sad.”

Tears dropped from his stationary face onto his lap, and he started sobbing. I’ve been with many many crying children at work, at The Road Home, in Ghana, and I like to think that I know when a kid is crying out of anger, crocodile tears, or whatever. The way Alex was crying reflected a deep and profound sadness.

I tried to reassure him again by placing my hand on his back and rubbing. This time he ran to the corner as he yelled “Don’t touch me!”
In the corner he continued to sob, and I left him there to cry and be alone for a few minutes. After the few minutes I moved and sat across from him.

“What’s making you so sad, Alex? Have you had a bad day? Did someone hurt you?” I was making reference to the giant goose-egg above his right eye and the scratches across his nose. He didn’t respond but continued to cry, and I let him cry to himself for a couple minutes.

“I’m never coming to book club again.” He declared

“That makes me really sad. I love seeing you every week. You make me laugh, you make Sam laugh, and you make all the other volunteers laugh. We would hate to see you not come anymore.” I replied“I don’t care.”“What could we do so that you would want to come to book club?”

“Nothing.”“Really? There is nothing we can do? Nothing at all? What if you help me plan next week’s activity. We could call it Alex's super awesome activity day. What is something that you really, really want to do?”

He thought for a moment contemplating whether or not to truly answer the question, and finally said “Make an instrument.” He was starting to warm up. He was looking at me now, and I could feel the bricks begin to tumble.

“Oh that’s a great idea!” I said enthusiastically “What instruments could we make?”

“A guitar out of rubber bands and a tissue box thing?” He suggested

“Perfect! Let me get a pen, I’m going to write this all down.”

The fact that a big person was going to take suggestions from him and write them down seemed to make him happy. It seemed to replace his profound sadness with a sort of self value. I came back with a pen and my trusty little black book and started writing down his suggestions.

“What could we use to make a drum?” I asked.

“Like a cardboard circle thing with paper and stuff. And we could make shakers.” He used his hands to illustrate his point. He was really getting into the idea now.

“Ok, we are going to do this next week so I will find a book to go with it.”

“Can I have a treat?”

“It’s time to clean up. How about if you pick up 12 things from the floor and show them to me you get a treat?”


I genuinely care about Alex, and I think he felt it that night. I felt a little bit of trust built and I hope it continues. I can see Alex doing great things if the right opportunities present themselves. I can also see him doing terrible things if he falls into the traps baited specially for the poor in our country. Its nights like these that remind me why I’m going into Social Work. Its nights like these that remind me that the issues of homelessness, and specifically child homelessness, are far bigger than I am. I can only hope that the little talent I have can be used to make a difference no matter how small that difference may be. Its nights like these that suck the apathy out of me, and make me want to smack the apathetic right upside the head. I’m reminded of a quote said by one of my professors “How can I, who has been given so much, do so little when there are those who have been given so little and do so much?”