Archive for the ‘Op-ed’ Category

The Demise of Written Correspondence

July 6, 2009

I am a writer. I can best express myself through words on paper, rather than in conversation. Yet I am somewhat of a dinosaur. Few people care to write to one another, preferring instead the ubiquitous cell phone for chatting or texting, using shortcut terminology and coded phrases. (C U later. I M here 4 U – 24/7.)

Saddened by the loss of beautiful and colorful exposition, I refuse to succumb to that way of communicating. You will not hear me say that someone is busy 24/7; you won’t see me texting a friend on a handheld device. I prefer words, lengthy, beautiful, expressive words, to share my feelings. I send cards, I write letters, and yes, I e-mail. I love words and what they can do. I can send cheer, or sympathy, or concern, or congratulations, all with words on a piece of paper. I can celebrate with you, or cry with you, hopefully make you laugh, all with a pen or pencil.

You’re too busy. I know. I hear this all the time. It’s easier to call. Yup. Yet have you ever received a correspondence that you read over and over, just for the joy of it? Have you smiled to know that someone thought of you enough to take the time to write, or choose a card just for you?

I like, too, the permanence of the written word. Years later, someone can pull out a letter, reread it, and relive the joy or sorrow or pleasure it presented the first time.  Birthday cards with a handwritten note inside, letters from a child at camp, love letters from a sixteen year old boy, a note from a long gone grandparent – all of these are items to be cherished! Even sympathy cards, arriving at a time of great sorrow, bring a smile to the face of the recipient, knowing they are thought of, and cared for.

So next time you pick up the phone to call a friend, maybe you should think about writing a letter instead. Share what’s on your mind and in your heart in a more permanent way. Give the recipient a gift that they can hold on to.

Don’t let the art of correspondence disappear.

Madonna’s Millions v. My Lack Thereof

December 15, 2008

Okay, here’s the thing.  Madonna and Guy Ritchie have reached a settlement in their divorce. He is getting 75 million dollars, and she gets her freedom.  Now, I understand that it is not cheap maintaining a luxurious lifestyle in this day and age, but I have a question: Can I have just a little teeny tiny piece of it?  Seriously, a simple 1 million would solve a lot of problems, and possibly nullify the disheartening effects of the damage to my 401k.

One million dollars is only 1.33% of that settlement. I can’t believe he’d miss such a tiny morsel, and yet, for me, it would be huge.  I could pay off my mortgage and my car, and my kids’ student loans, and have enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life. I’d also take a lovely trip to Disney World.

I promise, it would not change me. I would still donate to the food banks, and the homeless shelters, and support my little girl in India.  I would still clean my own bathrooms, and do my own grocery shopping and cooking.  Yet the burden that has been weighing on me for the past 14 months would be lifted.

So, Guy, whattaya think?  1.33%.  No biggie, hmm?

In Defense of Being a Loner

December 11, 2008

I recently read the book Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto, by Anneli Rufus, and I must say, it struck a chord with me.  I am a loner, and not only am I okay with it, I prefer it this way.

Cell phones are a marvelous thing, and I am so grateful to have one with me when I travel, or pick someone up at the airport, or drive home alone at night.  But don’t call me, please, unless you have something to say.  And even then, say it, then let me go.  I won’t be offended. Really.

Ancillary to my love of my aloneness is my love of silence.  I don’t need a radio or other device playing when I am home alone, or when I am in the car. I enjoy music, especially this time of the year, but often I find myself in need of quiet to calm my mind after a busy day at work.

Ms. Rufus makes the case that being a loner is  not the equivalent of being weird, or a freak, as is so commonly believed.  Nor is it abnormal.    Numerous artists and great thinkers have been loners: Emily Dickinson, Descartes, Greta Garbo, J.D. Salinger, Einstein, Michelangelo, Isaac Newton……

Yet much of our society insists upon telling us to get out more, socialize more, make friends, get a hobby.

I have hobbies, lots of them. I read, I play on the computer, I do scrapbooking and crafts.  I cook. I write.  And I never ever feel the need to have someone join me in those activities.  I am comfortable with this.  I do not need to join clubs or do volunteer work or have a busy career to feel fulfilled.  I enjoy my own company.

Going home at the end of the day is my greatest joy, and when a co-worker asks what I have planned for a weekend, I gleefully say, “nothing”.

If you think about it, this is an ideal way to live.  I have friends, both real and virtual. I love my family.  I enjoy being with all of them, but when I am alone, I am happy, too.

So please don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t feel you need to invite me to dinner if my husband is out of town.  I’m good.

Well, It’s Over, and It’s Just Begun…

November 10, 2008

The election is now behind us, and we can move on to what I’ve been missing for a long, long time: HOPE.

Yes, there is hope. Hope that our country can get back on track.

That we can restore the constitutional rights that have been decimated by the current administration.

That we can begin, carefully, to regain the respect of the rest of the world.

That we can, in spite of the terrible shape the economy is in, restore some semblance of fairness in the economy – where big business will not reap the rewards of tax cuts at the expense of “the little guy”; where huge corporations will be forced to pay their share, and the “bottom line” will not be all that matters.

That we can begin to undo some of the damage done to the environment, without pretending that global warming is a myth.

That we can stop depleting forests and rivers and the ocean and the glaciers all in the name of progress, with the actual goal being the pursuit of $$$.

That we can once again be assured that ignorance is not preferable to science.  Stem cell research can save lives, and sound ecological research may help to save the earth.  Evolution is real, and hiding our heads in the sand is not a good choice.  Birth control is necessary, especially in developing countries. We cannot “un-know”.

Hope.  Something I have not felt for a very long time.

Cautiously, yes, but I do have hope.

Vote, Please! You Must!

January 31, 2008

I have heard a number of people lately say they won’t vote, because in the current electoral college system, individual votes don’t matter.  They say they don’t trust Hillary Clinton, or that Barack Obama is too inexperienced.  They do not want to vote republican and continue the path we are on.

I don’t believe any politician is completely honest; they cannot be and make it in that game.  There is always a trade-off in politics, and to think otherwise is naive.  But the current administration has done so much damage, and exacerbated the decline of this country to such a great degree that we will never fully recover.  GWB and the VP will go down in history as the criminals they are.  So what if Bill Clinton got a blow job?!?!  Big f***ing deal.  I’d take him back any day, and go back to a healthy economy, strides in improving the environment, work towards better health care and stronger public education. We had allies around the world who saw us as a friendly nation.  Not to mention the fact, which voters are apparently for some bizarre reason forgetting, that this war has seen 3,491 Americans die in Iraq (as of 6:21 a.m. today) and upwards of 100,000 have been wounded, many critically. 3,802 have died since this fool stood on the deck of that ship and said “Mission accomplished”.   In addition, over a million Iraqis have died since the war began.

(For the source of these numbers, see this site.)

I read online this morning that Americans want a president who can bring down the price of gas.  Huh? That’s an inconvenience, and nothing more, for most of us, compared to the loss of a son or daughter in a war that cannot be won.  I will gladly pay more for gas if I have a government I can stand behind, and respect.

 Your vote does count.  The electoral college sucks, no doubt, and it is sadly outmoded. But it is what it is, until we work to change it, and you MUST vote.

Clearly, I will vote democrat, and I hope you will all do the same. We need a total change.  We need a president who will mend fences with our former allies, and will focus on repairing the damage to the U.S. Constitution.  We need someone who will stop giving favors to big business at the expense of the average American citizen.

Is Hillary perfect? No. Is Obama? No.  But neither of them has the lack of morality that I see in GWB.  Neither of them plans to void the Constitution that this country is founded on.  I’d take any democrat over another republican administration.  We need change, and we need it soon.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.