my super sweet 16

This morning I made chocolate chip pancakes, coffee, and turned on my tv. I didn’t feel like watching gameday hype of FSU – Miami so I scrolled through the channel guide and found this gem: ‘My Super Sweet 16: Blingest Bash Countdown’. It’s MTV’s shameless repurposing of episodes from a show that aired regularly 10 years ago. I used to watch ‘My Super Sweet 16’ around the time I was 16. If you’ve never seen the show, the concept is ridiculous. They follow rich soon-to-be 16 year olds as they plan absurdly large parties to celebrate themselves. There are recurring themes: these kids have access to too much money; these kids have parents with little-to-no control over the situation; these kids think they’re going to be famous and this party is the best way to get the ball rolling.

Right now there is a kid on my screen who is having a casual chat with Puff Daddy/P.Diddy/Diddy/Sean “puffy” Combs/whatever he was called in 2004 about his party. Celebrity name dropping is another recurring theme. My favorite is when the celebrity they name drop is only mildly famous (Bubba Sparxxx).

Anyway, It’s been about 10 years since this show was at its peak. That means most of the kids on this show are my age — somewhere around 26. I’d kill for the opportunity to sit down with a few of them and ask some questions, like:

1) It’s been 10 years since “the most important night of my life”. Was it really the best thing that’s ever happened to you? Has nothing better happened in a decade since? How does that feel?

2) You’re 26 and still not famous. Is that okay? Is that what you expected? How does it feel?

3) Are your parents still rich or did you clean them out with your $200,000 party plans?

4) Did you wreck that C-Class Mercedes?

5) Does everyone from your party know your family friend Bubba Sparxxx performed with you at your party because YOU PAID HIM $15,000?

6) Do you still talk to Bubba Sparxxx?

7) Were the costume changes really necessary? How much of your party did you miss while you were changing from one $8,000 dress to the next one?

A decade ago I loved this show. MTV’s reality television was my entertainment of choice. I followed Ashlee Simpson through the making of her first album. I watched Nick Lachey laugh at all of Jessica Simpson’s dumb comments – “Is this chicken, what I have, or is it fish? It says chicken of the sea.” I was definitely Team LC through all of season one of Laguna Beach. I loved MTV. I take part of the blame for the fact that shows like this still exist… because I supported their early counterparts. Now all I want is to know how the 15 minutes of MTV teenage fame worked out for those kids. I want to know if they’re okay going through the rest of their lives with “My Sweet 16 party was part of a half-hour show on MTV in 2004” as their best conversation starter.

in defense of kicks

—I feel okay about posting this now that I know ‘What Not To Wear’ has already aired its series finale—

If you were to ask me to describe my personal style I’d go with one of two options: bartender in an ill-fated NBC sitcom; or just finished a game of pick-up basketball chic. I don’t know why you’d ever ask me to do such a thing, but I’ve read enough women’s magazines to know that’s a real question that is asked sometimes… in certain circles.

I have a lot of very stylish friends. You know the people who look like they just walk in to Banana Republic and mannequins strip off their own outfits and hand them over? Yeah, I have friends like that. My best friend effortlessly throws together outfits that would make me look like some sort of crazy hobo, but she looks cool.

I’m not saying I can’t get dressed up. Hell, ask me to be in your wedding and I’ll look the part of dainty bridesmaid. I’ll wear pink. I’ll wear sparkly nail polish. I’ll curl my hair. I can play the role. I just don’t have that natural style. The effort I put in to just dressing appropriately for work five days a week takes it all out of me and I still usually end up wearing jeans on Fridays — Casual Friday, right?

The number of tank tops and gray v-neck t-shirts I own could only be classified as ridiculous. I have at least twice as many pairs of Nikes as heels and I’m pretty sure I should own stock in Rainbow sandals.

I take a lot of heat from friends about what I choose to wear out. Maybe it’s deserved. Maybe purple suede air force ones really aren’t meant for bachelorette parties. Maybe “jorts” aren’t okay to wear downtown, even if you proudly claim your Pickens County roots while you wear them. I get it. I get it, people. I just don’t care.

You guys! We follow a lot of rules already —  traffic laws; societal laws; airport restrictions. I respect rules. My parents will verify that I was a dream teenager to raise because of this (How hard did you just roll your eyes, mom and dad? HOW HARD?). I’m not really kidding, though. Honestly I think, in general, life is easier and better with rules.

But fashion rules? Seriously, that’s just not going to happen. Don’t mix black and brown? Are you being real right now? Sometimes black and brown look awesome together. Don’t wear white after labor day? I know I’m from the South and some things are supposed to be sacred — but the weather doesn’t change at labor day. It’s still summer for a solid month afterwards. How is a federal holiday the arbitrary cut-off for all our unpigmented clothing? Don’t wear horizontal stripes? OH MY GOD. If we’re not supposed to wear horizontal stripes then why is everyone still making things with horizontal stripes? Don’t wear jorts if you’re over 18? Honestly, I’m not sure that’s a rule. It might just be a thing my friends say when they’re embarrassed by me. Really though, I’ll wear jorts as long as I want to! My legs are 40 inches long, dammit!

Listen, I promise you can count on me to be a safe driver. You can count on me to cut all my liquids down to three ounces or less before I arrive at the airport. You can trust me to keep a secret. You can count on me not to steal things or cheat at sports… And, more than anything else, you can trust that I won’t be offended if you choose to wear purple suede Air Force Ones to my wedding one day… but you may want to clear it with my mom first.


leaving jackson

I had a hard time the day I left Jackson, Mississippi. I don’t mean emotionally. I mean a big rig wrecked, shutting down the only highway out of town and I had to find a new route. Emotionally, it was not difficult to leave.

I only lived in Jackson 19 months. I spent four of those months knowing I was moving back home, and three of those four keeping that information to myself. I gave Jackson almost a year and a half before actually writing anything about my time there, out of common courtesy. Well, I mean publicly writing anything. There are several notebooks floating around my room filled with things I wrote while living there. Those words are not necessarily kind, and they will never see the light of day. In the event of my untimely death, I have a friend who knows its her job to burn all notebooks found in my room. What I’m trying to say is, living in Jackson was not my favorite thing. It’s not a horrible place (I’m trying, guys). I met some really great people while I was there. I learned a lot about how to be a producer. I had opportunities at work that probably should not have been trusted to a kid fresh out of school, but I’m thankful for them. I learned a ton about myself: like how much I enjoy living close to my family; how much I don’t enjoy living alone; and that I can find creative ways to enjoy being in places I don’t necessarily love. The last thing being the most important. I don’t hate Jackson… really, I don’t. I don’t wish I’d never lived there.

Jackson is the south that authors write about. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the American South. In some cases it’s what you’d expect from the American South in the 1950s… but the truth is you can find old school mentalities everywhere. I understand that. In some ways the kids who grow up in a community that battles with it’s past daily are luckier than the rest of us. They don’t get to hide from the ugliness. It’s probably why a lot of people from Mississippi will tell you they’re stronger than most Americans. The state takes a beating — in media; in public opinion; on lists of things no state wants to advertise (obesity, lack of education, etc), but its people are proud. You’ve got to admire that… at least a little.

For everything any of us can say about the stereotypical south… for all of the people who said “Really, Jackson?” when I took my first job and moved to Mississippi. For all of the wonderful people I met while I was there, a list of things I loved about Jackson, Mississippi.

1) Beagle Bagel – Before you judge me for listing a bagel shop as number one of my list of favorite things about Jackson, know that bagels are my favorite food. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but based on the number of bagels I’ve eaten on team buses headed to track/cross country/swim meets in my lifetime I’d say I’m close. Beagle Bagel is the tops. It is, hands down, my all time favorite bagel place and it’s exclusive to the Jackson metro area. There are three locations that I know of, yes I’ve been to all three. I don’t have much more to say. Trust my bagel knowledge. I’m not going to tell you to hit the road and head to Jackson just for a bagel. If you ever get a chance to hit Beagle Bagel in Jackson, Ridgeland, or Madison – order the chicken salad on Sundried Tomato bagel. Just do it. Thank me later.

2) Natchez Trace Parkway – Full Disclosure: when I first heard about this my response was “Oh, like the Blue Ridge Parkway?” Everyone I asked had no idea what I was talking about. The answer is yes… sort of. The Natchez Trace is a cool federally maintained parkway that runs from South Mississippi through Jackson and on up to Tennessee. It’s the same idea as the Blue Ridge Parkway, but the scenery is really different. The part near Jackson was just a couple miles from my apartment. Since I was working the nightside shift I spent a lot of mornings running alone on the parkway. In hindsight, that’s probably not safe but I did a lot of things alone in Mississippi and I’m still here! The trace was my favorite spot to see fall colors. The part I could get to on foot weaved behind old town Ridgeland (the suburb where I lived) on one end. On the other side it took me to views of the Ross Barnett Reservoir and trails through a cypress swamp. The trace is still a place I’d recommend to anyone who wants a pretty drive through Mississippi. You can see historic homes in Natchez and some of the state’s best scenery.

3) History –  The history! Jackson is a history lover’s dream. I could make a very long list of museums and historic sites I visited while living there. If you, like me, have an unusual affinity for Capitol buildings (highly unlikely, but worth checking) then you would love the Old Capitol museum. It’s the… you guessed it… old capitol building converted into a museum. You can tour the rooms where state legislators voted to secede from the Union in 1861. The building served as the capitol until 1903. It’s old. It’s awesome. You can read more about it here. Another great spot is the Vicksburg National Military Park. It’s not in Jackson, but it’s a short drive and worth it. It’s the site of the Civil War Battle of Vicksburg (May 18 to July 4, 1863). During the civil war Vicksburg was called “The key to the south”… and I’m totally boring you. Read more here. Other interesting spots? Medgar Evers’ home. He was shot to death in his driveway in 1963. The home is a museum now, but it’s also just a regular home in a modest neighborhood. It’s not roped off. It’s just right there. You can park right in front of the house and walk up the driveway. The historic Madison County Courthouse is also on the National Registry of Historic Places. Truth be told, I don’t know a whole lot of history that happened there but the building is cool. It’s also featured in ‘A Time To Kill’ – so I was pretty disappointed when I found out jury duty happens in some plain ol’ 1980s style brick building a few blocks away. Anyway, I could go on and on about the history. Touring historic sites was my favorite thing to do in Jackson. If you’re ever planning a visit, give me a call.

4) M-Braves – If you can’t find anything to love about a place, find its nearest minor league baseball team. I swear on this trick. Go watch America’s Pastime with a stadium full of your neighbors. Most of you won’t really care if you win or lose, but the dollar beers and delicious hot dogs make it worth your time. This is universal, but trust me when I say Mississippi does minor league baseball right.

5) Music – This is the point where I realized this list is not in order of importance. If it was, this would be number one. Also, if I were to give this item the attention it deserves it would have its own post. I can’t do that because I’m not equipped to handle something that big right now. Mississippi’s music history is rich, it’s the birthplace of great entertainers like Elvis and the home of blues. The sheer number of artists (music & otherwise) who’ve come from this place is ridiculous. I’d challenge you  to try and find a state that’s produced a larger volume of artists who’ve impacted their art in the way that Mississippi’s have. Even greats who aren’t from Mississippi have written about it.

6) Ole Miss Tailgating – Not really Jackson, but I swear you’ll find enough Clonel Reb bumper stickers in Jackson to make you feel like it’s one of Oxford’s neighboring towns. I love tailgating. Who doesn’t? Tailgating at Clemson is a blast. Tailgating at Ole Miss is an experience. If I were to write down the 10 most southern things I’ve ever done, tailgating at Ole Miss would be somewhere in the top half (near playing football barefooted in a pasture). The Grove is as intense as you’ve heard. People stand packed together under tents until time to flood over to the arch for the “Walk of Champions”. Guys wear seersucker, girls wear dresses. Do yourself a favor, wear a dress. Seriously! And if you ever have a girl friend who is going to tailgate at Ole Miss for the first time, do her a favor and tell her to wear a freaking dress. Nobody wants to be the only person, with a Y chromosome, wearing shorts in the grove. Trust me. Really.

I left on May 23, 2012. My dad and I eventually figured out a backroads path through rural Rankin County. We picked I-20 back up somewhere above Pelahatchie. I never did find out what happened  with the big rig. I just got out. I don’t miss it much, but every once in a while I do think I might like a nice run on the Natchez Trace. I guess if I ever do decide I need to squeeze in a visit, I know at least two ways to get back.


six three

I was somewhere on Main Street between The Hyatt and Sticky Fingers. He tapped me on the shoulder as I ran by. I had my headphones in my ears, listening to the Rolling Stones. The Rolling Stones are great to run to… when the mood is right. I was mid-stride when I felt his index finger sort of dig into the space between my collar bone and… well I’m not going to pretend I know a whole lot about anatomy… but he was poking me a little too close to my neck. It was jarring. (Pro tip – don’t touch a woman you don’t know in public, ever — not to grab her butt, not to rub her pregnant belly, not to poke her so she’ll stop mid-run for a conversation) I stopped, turned around, and looked him straight in the eye while he mouthed something I couldn’t make out. I paused my music and pulled my headphones out of my ears, all while I was still asking myself why I was even stopping at all. I couldn’t make out his words so I said “What?” a little louder than I intended.

“Six-Three” he said with a very clear question mark at the end. SIX THREE! This guy! This guy was stopping me in the middle of a run that was going really well to try and guess my height. Not only that, he was stopping me to guess wrong! This guy thought it was okay to reach out and dig his knuckle into my neck, to indicate that he needed my immediate attention. All just so he could guess the wrong height.

Listen, there are a million creative ways to start a conversation with a stranger. Of those million ways… this one doesn’t come anywhere near the top half of my list of favorites.

If you’ve spent more than a few hours around me, you’ve heard me joke about being tall. I talk about it a lot because people ask me about it a lot. If we’re being completely honest, I don’t think being 6’1″ makes me all that strange. There are a lot of other things that would probably more easily separate me from society, but my height is the thing strangers (and people who know me well) like to point out. So I learned a long time ago to be proactive and make my own jokes about it. If you’re going to make a tall joke, I guarantee you I’ve already made it about myself. I’ve heard everything from “how’s the weather up there” to the stranger stumbling over a list of possible sports I mastered in high school — basketball? volleyball? swimming? More than a few times I’ve heard little kids loud-whisper something to their parents in public. It’s not offensive. In fact, in August I wrote a [possibly too sassy] response to a Huffington Post piece on the topic. The site did a piece about things to never say to a tall woman. I thought it was pretty lazy. I disagreed on nearly every point. You can read my response here.

The truth is I’m not usually bothered by being tall. I’m almost never bothered by people wanting to talk about it. I’m just constantly amused that everyone seems to think they’re the first person who’s ever pointed it out. Whatever you’re about to say, it’s been said. I have to give credit to the man on Main Street though, because he was certainly the first to think his question was so creative I needed to be stopped mid-stride to hear it.

I should’ve said what I wanted to say. I should’ve just gone for it. “Sir, is this a carnival? Did I unknowingly hand you some tickets and ask you to guess my personal stats in hopes that you’d get it wrong and I’d win some oversized bear to carry the rest of the way down Main Street back to my car? Sir are you, by chance, insane?”

I should’ve said those things, because it would’ve been funny and sassy and indicative of how my sarcastic mind reacts every time a stranger makes a comment on my height. Instead I looked him in the eye for half a beat, said “no, Five-four”, stuck my headphones in my ear and started back up the street to the chorus of ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’.

going for it

This is proving to be more of a challenge than I expected. Writing something worth sharing every single day is not easy. Each day my posts are getting later and later. I’ve found myself racking my brain for anecdotes from childhood, or unique perspectives on the average everyday events of my week. It seems like some people can pull extraordinary from ordinary really easily and I want that skill. Realistically, I’m not sure it’s actually easy for anyone. It’s just most people aren’t trying to do this every day. They’re writing when the creativity actually happens. So maybe this wasn’t a great idea. Maybe I’ll fill 30 pages worth of blog with nothing worth ever revisiting. Maybe some of you will read this and think I have zero talent and should really go back to my day job. That’s fine. I’m not for everyone.

Whatever happens, I’m fairly certain a lot of the rest of the posts will end up being what you find below. — a sort of stream of consciousness about my day.


What I have found is that I’m enjoying the challenge. Whether I think the final product is decent or not, I’m enjoying the process. Several times I’ve hit the publish button while my posts were still in their infancy, but I’ve made myself hit it because sometimes you just have to go for it, you know? A couple of these posts have started out as big ideas and ended as skeletons of my original thoughts… but they’re here. They’re posted and if I want to revisit and revise at some point, I can.

Last week I wrote about irrational things that scare me. This week I’m facing different fears. I can’t really write about them in detail, but I’m trying new things that will hopefully lead to big, fun opportunities. I’ve always been afraid of things I wanted too much. That’s my real biggest fear. I can write all day long about scary, dark basements or serial killers, but there’s nothing that terrifies me more than wanting something that might be out of reach. So I’m facing that fear. I’m going after something I’ve wanted more than maybe anything else in my whole life. God, that sounds cheesy… but hope is kind of a cheesy concept. It’s going to take practice. It’s going to take a whole lot of faux self confidence. It’s going to take some seriously hard work and maybe a little bit more of that cheesy hope… but I’m going for it. With the encouragement and advice from people I respect a lot, I’m going for it.

Honestly, I hope you’ll go for it too. Whatever it is… and if you need someone to play the cheerleader, hell, give me a call. I’m pretty good at finding things to celebrate in other people. There’s just no darn sense in being afraid of things you want. None at all.

a little land and a little love


There’s a special spot in the Charleston harbor. It’s where the two rivers meet and begin to blur with the ocean. If you hit it at the right time, in the right kind of boat, you can climb out, and stand up… hundreds of yards from land. If you paddle out while the tide is really low you can dance around in a combination of salt and freshwater that hits just above your ankles. It’s water you couldn’t stand in at any other time of day.

There’s a creek at the back of my parents’ property. It’s big enough to have a name and appear on maps, but private enough that we can have our rowdy New Years Eve family bonfires without disturbing anyone. When it rains hard enough you can ride a tube from one end of our property to another. In the Spring the trees around it turn a shade of green I’ve never seen anywhere else. If you cross the creek and walk up on to the land next door you’re on the property of a woman who taught both of my grandparents and my dad in the third grade. Between the creek and a rotted old picnic table there’s a tree with my mom and dad’s initials carved into it. My dad did that the year they bought the farm. I once tried to swing on a vine from that tree. It seemed sturdy right up until the moment I fell flat on my back. My brother laughed so hard he couldn’t help me up. The first time I went home after turning 21 my dad asked me to have a beer with him down by the creek. We spent an entire afternoon just sitting by his tractor drinking beers.

There are lakeside trails behind my high school. Those trails are where I learned the joys and pain of distance running. They’re where we spent every fall afternoon torturing ourselves, getting our shoes muddy, and laughing at the kind of jokes only insane kids who’d voluntarily join a cross country team would enjoy. The trails are easy for anyone to get to, but not well known by non-natives. If you hit the right path you can run several miles with the lake in your sight. There used to be a rope swing at the end of one dirt road. It was the subject of an ongoing battle between Sheriff’s deputies who’d take it down and rowdy kids who’d tie a new one back up, until the deputies finally just cut down the tree that was used to hold it. You can still jump from the rock next to it, but not many people do anymore.

There’s a little mountain not far from my home. It’s easy to get to, but it’ll cost you two dollars or the price of a parks pass. It has more trails than I know at this point, because even though I’ve run there several times I keep going back to the same spot. The loop that takes you up and down the sides of the mountain until it spits you out at a lake surrounded on three sides by peaks. I’ve been there on sunny days when it’s beautiful and glowing. I’ve been there on cloudy days when the whole place looks like something you’re supposed to keep secret. It’s a popular park but I’ve never passed more than a handful of people while running there, for whatever reason.

What I’m saying is, there are places you can get away. There are places to clear your head. When everything that’s running through your mind gets to be too much, and you need a place to just be… those spots are everywhere. They’re why I believe, whole-heartedly, that all a person really needs in life is people to love and a little land or water of her own.

the biological clock is no myth

***Warning: this post is blunt, honest, and addresses the elephant in the room with every woman in her mid-to-late twenties whether she wants to admit it or not***

The biological clock is not a myth. Whether you love kids or hate them (if you hate kids, we need to talk. I’m trying to understand your kind… but I just can’t). Before you start thinking I’ve become some sort of desperate almost 26 year old who is dying to have children, let me assure you – I have not. The problem with the biological clock is that it doesn’t care about any other element of your life. If you’re 25, you’re 25. You’re not the youngest child who is still mostly called by her childhood nickname. You’re not the late-blooming girl who took her sweet time growing up, because she could. The clock doesn’t care.

Ready or not you’re going to start loving the smell of babies’ heads. You’re going to reminisce about the days you got paid to play with other people’s children while they enjoyed a rare night out. One day you’re going to surprise yourself by browsing someone’s pinterest wedding planning board. You may, in a weak moment, watch an episode of ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ without vomiting (but you probably won’t really enjoy it). You might even think of potential baby names — this one will scare you the most.

There are enough wildly complicated relationships in my family to make it worth my while to hold back and take my time. To make sure I’m prepared for the challenges. I know this, but the clock doesn’t care. When I think too long and hard about my advancing age I fall into the rabbit hole of comparing my accomplishments to other women in my life. (By accomplishments I mean the things society wants us to do as women… whether they should be how we measure our success or not.) I think about my Grandmother who was married at 19 and had a kid within the year. I think about my mom who waited longer but was married and had her first baby by the time she was 26. My oldest sister had two kids by my age. My middle sister was married with a stepson by the time she turned 26. I am 24 days from turning 26 and best classified as “intermittently single”. I know, I know, you have to take changing times into account. My grandmother got married in the early 50s, my mom in the early 80s. My sisters are both a decade and a half older than me. Times have changed. Intermittently single at 26 is not weird, but that doesn’t keep a girl from comparing the numbers. It’s human. We live by comparisons, without taking outside factors into account.

So the challenge is comparing other things.  When the ticking of the biological clock gets too loud we have to remember that we haven’t spent our entire lives accomplishing nothing. I have a career that’s going pretty well. I have good friends all over the country. I have people who love and respect me. I have skills that will hopefully lead me to more career opportunities in the future. I don’t have a husband and I don’t have babies, but I don’t want them… yet. I do have the ability to enjoy an occasional night out with a great guy, and nearly a dozen of my siblings’ kids to spend time with until I make my own.

Now if I could just find the volume on this damned clock.

sometimes you just bandwagon

I love sports. It’s no secret. Basketball is my favorite to watch. Track and field is my favorite to do. I know more about those two sports than any other, but I can get into and understand almost any other sport. It takes next to no effort to get me pumped up about a game. If you can find me a good reason to cheer for a particular team, I can become invested — fast.

I’m not big on bandwagon fans. I say this from a completely hypocritical place. I do not enjoy people with absolutely no connection to Boston, who just happened to become Boston Red Sox fans the year they broke their world series slump. I do not enjoy hockey because when I was a kid it seemed no one in North Carolina cared one bit about hockey until the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup – then every Tom, Dick, and… well… Stanley (that hurt me more than it hurt you, I promise) put giant Hurricanes flags on their cars. I do not like when people just claim a team. I don’t like it, but I’m guilty of it. Not a full-on bandwagon, per se. I won’t ever devote absolute fanhood to a team without any connection to my life. I will, however, jump on board for a few Saturdays. I’ll cheer a team on if they do something I love, like beat Duke or the Gamecocks. I’ll pull for a team if their story is particularly exciting.

I’m not a huge football fan. It’s been widely noted (mostly by me, but whatever) that I only really care about football until basketball season starts up. That being said, I watch it pretty regularly during the basketball down time. I have teams I love and I have teams I hate. Then there are the teams that garner my bandwagoning attention.

This football season Missouri is my team to watch. Truth be told, it only started two weekends ago when they played Georgia. Like I said, give me a good reason and I can dive right in – fast. The 2013 Missouri football team is nothing if not a series of good reasons. You’ve got a team that’s had decent seasons, but never seems to draw a whole lot of national attention. There’s a general underdog feeling, whether the rankings make it true or not. This is a team that joined the SEC just last year. The SEC — that conference that is considered (it pains me to say this) the best football conference. The pompous, horrible, disgusting SEC. Sorry about that… sort of. What I’m trying to say is Missouri is a team that is in the SEC, but it doesn’t feel like it. They’re not a Georgia or Alabama. They’re the sleeper team from halfway across the country. They’re kind of just sneaking in and staging a takeover. I love it.

I guess it says something terrible about me that I enjoy cheering against some teams as much as I enjoy cheering for the teams I love. I don’t want to know what it says about me, actually.

All I know is I absolutely support the idea of culture change in the SEC and if some nice kids from the midwest have to be the ones to make it happen, then so be it.

friday slump

It’s day 6. I don’t have a lot to say. I’m going to keep this simple. There’s pretty much just one thing on my mind at the moment…

Last night I sent an unintelligible tweet in my sleep. Now I have to spend the entire day trying to figure out what I meant to say and how autocorrect managed to turn it into “Burlap. Neck Bond. Best Bound.” Seriously, what is that?

I don’t have much to work with on this. Here are my only clues so far:

1) Just before bed I saw someone’s post on facebook about a burlap wreath she made

2) I fell asleep watching the World Series

3) Yesterday I watched several NBA podcasts, many of which used the phrase “Playoff Bound”

That’s it. That’s what I have to work with. I am not sure how the word “neck” got thrown in, but I suspect autocorrect may be to blame. That just means now I have to try to figure out which miss-typed words autocorrect to neck. Great. That should be easy.

This is not the first time I’ve sent something from my phone in my sleep. In fact, my sleep texting habit inspired a special report (or sweeps piece for you news business types) earlier this year. In March I sent the following text, in the middle of the night, to a guy I was dating: “Casey Kasem is Dead.”

It was spelled correctly. It had punctuation. It was a sentence that made perfect sense. It just wasn’t true and there was no logical explanation for why Casey Kasem was on my mind. I hadn’t thought about the guy since he stopped hosting American Top 40 in 1998… or maybe since the last time I watched that episode of ‘Saved By The Bell’ where he hosted a dance contest. Either way, it’s been a while.

I thought my sleep texting was done because predicting Kasem’s demise happened months ago and there haven’t been any more since, but a heavy combination of sleep deprivation and stress may be bringing back the hits.

This is not good.

This means I need to start hiding my phone at night again.

Sleep texting and tweeting could be a career… or worse… reputation ruiner.

I still want to know what  “Burlap. Neck Bond. Best Bound” means.

tragedy and pop ups

“AP News Alert” popped up on the screen. I clicked it.

“Baghdad (AP) – 12 dead after suicide bomber rams explosive laden car into a checkpoint.”

If you’ve never used a newsgathering program like ENPS then you may not know how it works. Truthfully, I don’t really know how it works. I just know what it does. It’s somehow connected to newswires from various sources. I build my shows inside the program. Don’t ask me to explain that. It sounds much more complicated than it is. Throughout the day alerts pop up at the top of the screen. Everything from breaking news, to weather updates, to sports scores (hallelujah!).

Most days I ignore the weather updates. I usually click the sports scores. I always read the news alerts. There’s a moment before I click them when I hope I will read something like “San Diego (AP) – Huge impromptu parade breaks out in downtown streets because everyone is having a great day” — I’ve never seen one that said that, or anything close. More times than not they tell me something terrifying happened in another country. I read the suicide bomber alert and caught myself thinking “again, really?”

I clicked out of it.

I paused.

I clicked back in.

“Baghdad (AP) – 12 dead after suicide bomber rams explosive laden car into a checkpoint.”

Twelve people killed and my initial reaction was basically… oh, it happened again.

No, Elizabeth. It’s not just a thing that’s acceptable. It’s not “oh, it happened again.” It’s oh my god, this won’t stop happening. This is every day for an entire slice of the human population. This keeps happening.

I am admittedly very guilty of thinking too long and too hard about nearly everything, but honestly can you imagine a world like this? I mean you — the person reading this who has probably spent most of his life enjoying the comforts of America. Do you know how safe you are most of the time? Daily suicide bombings are not our reality.

We have our tragedies:

A bombing at a marathon in April killed three and injured 264 others. It was horrible. The entire country watched for days while Boston police tried to track down the suspects. We mourned for weeks and rightfully so.

Last December a deranged man, younger than me, marched into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed twenty children and six teachers. We cried. We questioned it. We got angry that the killer was also dead and we’d never get the answers we deserved. In the news we noted the passing time; one week since the shooting; one month since the shooting; six months since the shooting. The kids started back to school in different buildings. We mourned for months.

In September 2001, you know the story, suicide bombers used four of our airplanes to kill nearly 3,000 of our people. Authorities are still sifting through rubble trying to identify victims whose bodies were never recovered. There are people who don’t have official word they lost a loved one in the 9/11 attacks, they’ve just had to assume it’s true. We mark the anniversary every year.

We know tragedy and we know it as tragedy because it doesn’t happen every day. It’s not our normal. These things are still horrible and scarring. They tear our hearts to pieces. They make us question why we’d even want to live in a world that can be so ugly sometimes. They’re dark and dirty, but they don’t happen every day. We have the luxury of knowing that our tragedies are not regular. They likely won’t happen again tomorrow. We’ll get a reprieve. Maybe it will be six months or, if we’re lucky, longer. It feels disgusting to use the word “luxury” to describe anything as awful as the events listed above… but it’s real and raw.

We are blessed with everyday safety, even if we complain about its inconvenience. We hate taking off our shoes at airports. We hate the body scanners. We curse the TSA for their rules about tiny bottles of shampoo and mouthwash. Whether we agree these things are necessary or not, they’re a direct result of the good intentions of our government – its effort to protect us from repeat attacks.

We argue over guns; who should have access, and who should control the process. We blame gun owners. We blame people who are anti-gun. We blame lack of mental healthcare. We blame video games. We blame parents. We blame drugs. We blame the government. We blame ourselves. We disagree on where the problem starts. We disagree on which measures will protect us from big tragedies, but the point is we are discussing them. These things are an ongoing conversation because people on both sides want us to live in a world that is safe. America, as a whole, wants to keep tragedies… tragic.

So I’m sitting here staring at this news alert that I’ve copied and pasted into this post twice. It’s twelve words long. A twelve word snippet about twelve people who won’t be going home today. Twelve words about twelve people with families and friends like mine.

They will be mourned.

They will be missed.

Their story… will likely be lost in the mix the next couple of days when another scene like the one that took their lives happens again in a nearby town.

I question what I know about my country daily. I question people making decisions in Washington. I wonder how grown-ups can argue like children long enough to shut down the Government. I worry that our political system is irreparably broken, but I know I would never see a news alert about a suicide bombing in this country and think “oh, it happened again.”

(ENPS and my incredible stick figure interpretation of Greenville’s extreme trampoline park)