A couple of days ago, I was struck by an 8 x 10 color flyer in a Spokane, Washington newspaper. It was an ad trumpeting the availability of a 1911 replica of some dandy gun for only dollars per month. I don’t know if it was a shotgun, a pistol or rifle, as all shooting implements are pretty much the same to me. They are manufactured to intimidate, to wound, or to kill. Period.
An NRA member was apparently upset with the organization. Perhaps he or she felt it was becoming too liberal.
Anyway, the flyer was full of purple prose about this wonderful weapon; not surprising considering the ad appeared to be sponsored by the NRA. The National Rifle Association loves purple prose and relies heavily on pro-America, pro-Bill of Rights, pro-family references. Why, according to them, it’s practically unpatriotic NOT to own a gun of some kind.
After raving about the weapon’s “gold-plated handle” and “genuine nickel plating,” among other attributes, the ad ended with this stunning phrase:
“Life’s Too Short to Shoot an Ugly Gun!”
I am not making this up. I read it several times to myself, mesmerized by its utter weirdness. Then I read it out loud to my family a couple of times, just to hear the words’ ring. Or perhaps I should say ‘bang.’ Really, I think I should have the phrase made into a bumper sticker. Considering the area in which I live, I’d probably get lots of compliments.
Do you have a favorite bumper sticker?
Recently I read an article by Yemeni publisher/editor Nadia Al-Sakkaf. Here’s her opening paragraph:
”They say the first thought that enters your head in the morning defines your day. My first thoughts are two questions: Do I hear (bomb) shelling? And is there electricity? Usually the answers are yes and no, respectively.” (Newsweek Magazine, 2011)
Those are some worrisome thoughts with which to begin one’s day. Personally, I don’t have to worry about bombs or whether or not I’ll have electricity. My early morning thoughts are usually about weighty issues like, “What shall I take to work for lunch today?” or “I really need to get out of this warm bed and feed the dogs and the cat.“ Pressing concerns, right?
Later in the article, Al-Sakkaf says her five-year-old daughter thinks the frequent gunshots and shelling are festive fireworks, like those she heard at the end of Ramadan. Al-Sakkaf can’t bear to tell the little girl the truth. As for me, I’ve never had to shelter my children from the horrors of war; their sleep has never been disturbed by the firing of weapons. I can’t even imagine living in a place like Yemen during this terrible time of unrest.
Tomorrow morning when I wake up, my first thought is going to be, “I am so very fortunate to live in a peaceful, beautiful area - where my son can go to school without any fear of violence.” And then I’m going to send up a prayer that one day no young person will die in any war, and that no child will have her sleep disturbed by the thud of bombs and the rattle of gunfire.
It was a crisp, sunny fall day when my son beat his PR – Personal Record - at a recent cross country meet. I nearly cheered myself hoarse.
Cross country is a funny kind of high school sport. It’s not especially cool like football or even wrestling. Often none of the other students at our local high school are even aware when there’s a meet. It’s a team sport, of course, but also very much an individual sport; there’s a reason for the phrase “The loneliness of the long-distance runner.” Cross country runners sweat, pant, gasp and sometimes dry-heave all by themselves as they pound along a course. Crowds of fans generally don’t cheer them on, because on most courses the runners are only visible when they leave the starting line and return to the finish line.
Perhaps because a person has to be strongly self-motivated to enjoy and excel at long-distance running, those attracted to it tend to be high-achieving students. Many of them are natural leaders, too. One of my son’s friends on the team, a senior, fully intends to be president of the United States one day and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he achieves that lofty goal.
Since I’ve never been a runner - or any kind of an athlete - I don’t really understand the sport’s appeal. But I saw the deep satisfaction in my son’s face when he PR’d on that lovely autumn day, and that’s all I need to understand. I’m so glad for him. And so proud of his determination.
Tattooes have always conjured up a negative image in my mind; biker dudes and chicks, hulking rednecks, druggies. This despite the fact that several of my close friends over the years have had tattoos - some tiny and cute, some bold and out-there.
A few days ago I had the opportunity to watch a close friend get a tattoo, and I decided to go for it. My curiosity about the whole, mysterious and scary procedure overcame my squeamishness. I arrived at the cozy, turqoise-walled studio called Ouchee Mama with considerable trepidation, though, wondering nervously whether I would be able to quell my aversion to pain – my own and anyone else’s - and actually watch the process.
In fact, I ended up documenting the entire two hours with my friend’s camera. To my considerable surprise, I found I was enchanted by the work of art being etched on a living canvas of smooth flesh. Because that’s what it was: exact, delicate, lovely art. Meaningful art, too, because my friend was empowered by the image she had chosen; a symbol of the way her life is moving in a bold and exciting new direction.
Thank you, D, for letting me be part of it, and thank you, Ouchee Mama, for allowing me to record it.