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Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 7

I haven’t had the inspiration to write much recently (either here or on my dissertation), so I decided to look back, and the last time I did a post like this was exactly one year ago today.

But here I am, once again on February 19th, once again staying in and getting real, albeit in different apartment, in a different zip code. And I still have trouble concentrating on writing when the TV is on and not muted.

Things here have been pretty normal, I guess. But only here.

Ever since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school massacre last week – a Columbine for the 21st century – things have felt as eerie as they did back in the 1990s. Granted, I was only in elementary school and I did not understand its impact on American life as much as someone a few years older than me would have, but even so, the topic came up in my fifth grade classroom. I remember how it opened up an entire conversation of violence in schools. I remember the images from the news; the low-res CCTV camera footage of the shooters walking down the halls in trenchcoats, the still image of the library window, the video on the news of students in sweatshirts and turtlenecks running away from the camera, their hands covering their ears.

Things should have changed then, but obviously, they didn’t. It’s happened so many times since, at all types of schools, most prominently universities, but something of Columbine-like proportions occurring again – in almost the same manner, just at a different school in a different state – just makes a person feel like they live in an illogical, unfeasible, chaotic world, a world where something like this, which shouldn’t happen, happens. It’s interesting to note that once again, most of the deceased and most of the people speaking out are white, but that’s beside the point. At least this time, social media has captured the unseen angles, the perspectives of the students who were there, in clear and concrete photos, videos, and tweets, and it’s actually done some good for once, helping to spread the word of how these teenagers feel. Who knows what will come of this – sadly, probably nothing – but at least the higher level of visibility is keeping the issue afloat for longer, and reaching farther than Columbine did.

Today, at my office, the fire alarm went off. I didn’t pay much attention to it; I was packing up to go home anyway, so I just hustled a little bit to get my things together and get out of the building, but for a split second, I felt this weird fear, the same kind of fear I felt in the first fire drills after Columbine, and 9/11 (the day which, by the way, the electricity shorted out in my high school and the fire alarm set itself off and everyone went crazy for about ten minutes), and I silently wondered what it would have been like if it was something unthinkable. What would I have done? Hiding under the desk wouldn’t have done much good, at least had I not slammed my door shut first, which is locked from the outside, but who knows if I would have even had the time. All I would have had to defend myself would be a backpack full of books and my students’ work, and maybe two chairs if it came down to it. It’s a thought that now, sounds silly and strange. But due last week’s event, that fire alarm kicked in a reminder, if only for a few seconds, that we still live in a world where things like this can happen and do happen.

Say what you will about guns, mental illness, bullying, but point blank – whatever the reason, there is no excuse for mass shootings.

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Welcome to Your 30s: The Decade of Unintentional Micromanagement and Reheated Leftovers

I spent a whole five minutes thinking up that title and I am damn proud of that.

Today, Kate drove me to my car after CAPS, and I started our conversation with, “now that I’m in my 30s, I’m suddenly feeling the need to micromanage everything.”

She made a sharp right turn and pumped the gas. “Join the club.”

I do think it’s true though. So far, I have caught myself micromanaging, or attempting to micromanage, four times this weekend. First, at Friday’s initiation ceremony. I arrived right on time, but still couldn’t resist asking if everyone knew what to do and how to do it and cell phones off everyone. Yesterday, it happened twice: in the morning, while I was selling at the Christmas market, and at night, at Salsa Saturday. I’m so sick of people wandering in and not dancing, so I gestured to everyone with whom I made eye contact and directed them to a spot on the floor. At the same time, I was running in and out of the room, holding doors for band members and telling them to go around the back entrance so as to not cut through the dance floor, before asking the band like five times if they were ready. And today at CAPS, I actually tried very hard and don’t think I micromanaged a thing, even if I did possibly nod off for a few seconds there.

I just reheated some tomato soup for the third time, and it might have gotten cold again, so excuse me please.

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But Wait, There’s More – A New Feature!

Just dropping in one last time to share my newest adventure in blogging. Once a week (hopefully with more frequency than Flip-the-Script Friday), I will post the chronology of my life. Mostly so I can remember it even better in the future. I’ve made a few recordings, and I’m hoping to include a hand-drawn picture to better illustrate my world view. I have yet to draw the first picture (watch this space) which began 30 years ago this very day.

My name is Jacob, AKA That’s So Jacob, and this is my story.

I was born October 21, 1987, in Baltimore, Maryland. I have a dad, a mom, a sister who is two (almost three) years older than me. These are the members of my family.

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Here’s a Sincere, Heartfelt Apology…Oh, And Something Else

Finally getting back to one of the real reasons I started this blog – collecting and recapping various random memories.

I received some plays the other day via InterLibrary Loan, and I was reading down the cast list of one of them when I noticed a particular name, an unusual name, a last name. The name of someone I went to elementary school with, and around whom this story revolves.

He transferred to my school when we were in fifth grade. I won’t say his name, so let’s just call him…Levi Dungarees, since despite wearing a spiky silver belt to complement his spiky silver-blond hair, his jeans sagged so low you could see exactly which Looney Tunes character was on his boxer shorts every day (it was usually Taz). Remember, this was the nineties, when such things were in. I’m glad that my mom refused to let me wear jeans that sagged like that, otherwise I’d forever remember what underwear I was wearing that day.

Anyway…

I wasn’t popular at all, and Levi, even though he’d only been in school a month or two, was already one of the most popular kids in the class. And of course, he tormented me pretty much every day, making fun of my hair, my clothes, everything about me. Especially my thick glasses. One day, he was chosen to hand out the hot lunch stickers (in my school, when we went to the cafeteria, if you were getting hot lunch you wore a sticker saying which meal you were signed up to get), and instead of peeling it off and handing it to me or sticking it on my shirt like a normal, kind human being, he peeled it and stuck it on my glasses. Right across the bridge of my nose. Of course, he thought it was funny, but I actually couldn’t see. He tried to then peel it off, and it wouldn’t come off, so I had to spend the next 10 minutes blindly chipping away at the residue of the sticker until my teacher let me go to the bathroom and attempt to soak the rest of it off in the sink.

In October, we Jews celebrate Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, when we’re supposed to ask forgiveness from our fellow man and atone for our sins, among other things. In Hebrew class, our teacher gave us an assignment to write an apology note to someone else in the class. Of all people, who did Levi decide to write to, and hand deliver to?

Me.

He gave me the note to read, and it was actually quite nice. In it, he apologized for putting the sticker on my glasses, and for teasing me in front of all the other boys. I thought it was sweet, and I thanked him and accepted the apology.

But with someone like Levi, you know that something else is up.

After I finished reading the note, he said something like…

“I’m really sorry. But look, I just want to tell you three things about yourself that you need to change, if you want people to be nicer to you…”

I don’t remember what those three things were – it was probably about wearing better clothes or stop using big words or something – but I kept thinking, “so this is what he really had in mind to tell me when he wrote that note.” I nodded along with this impromptu lecture, more or less zoning out, and probably responding with something like, “okay, I understand,” or something sheepish. Because the whole time he was talking (and even now, when I think of it) I’m all…

Image result for what a load of crap rachel

Seriously…if you’re that garbage-y of a person that you see an apology note as an excuse to shit all over them, don’t write the note. As a matter of fact, don’t exist at all.

If I could redo that moment, I would have probably done something differently, maybe said…”here’s three things about you that I don’t like” or maybe….”hold that thought”, and then called over a teacher or someone else – anyone else – to listen to what he was saying, and been like “okay, here’s someone you can complain to, because I don’t care” (even though I was 10 years old so I probably kind of did care).

A non-apology apology is chicken shit, and I have another story about that for another time. But a seemingly sincere apology that’s essentially a non-apology apology, and is a cover for backpedaling caveats and side-complaints, that’s worse. It just defeats the whole purpose of apologizing in the first place. So let that be a lesson. When you apologize, be sincere about it, and if you can’t, then don’t. 

And that’s probably the first time I’ve thought about him in about sixteen years.

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Open, Open Damned Bag

It’s been a long week so far, and I haven’t been too inspired to write…well, much of anything. I don’t really know why. But I need to be writing more, in general, so I thought I’d just let out what’s on my mind today.

I feel like I may have written about this before, so apologies if this sounds familiar.

Both yesterday and today, I bought something that came in one of those Zip-Loc pouches that you have to cut or tear before you can easily pop open. Or, I mean, “easily.” Both times, I cut/tore the plastic, only to not be able to get into the bag. One I eventually pried open with my nails, but for the other one I actually had to go in with scissors and make an incision, which meant I had to eat the whole thing because it didn’t really close all the way. Is there a more annoying sensation than wanting to get into a bag that’s designed to be easy to open, and having to resort to near violence to get at the treats inside? What did we do in a past life to deserve this? I mean, if the bag is designed to be easy to open, actually make it easy to open. Or tell us to cut it open.

Anyway. I ended up getting to enjoy the snacks eventually.

How are you doing?

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Staying In and Getting Real: Current Events Roundup, Part One

It seems like I’m always doing “part ones” of series. But anyway, enough about me, so how are you?

I had a pretty productive day, I guess, but instead of going out tonight (it’s a Monday, so it’s par for the course, but whatevs), I decided to stay in, watch TV, and do laundry.

And of course, what is all over the news is pretty shocking. In case you’ve been off the grid for the past few hours, there was an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in England, with 19 people dead, most likely all teenagers or preteens. It’s shocking and troubling, and all over every news and social media platform out there.

But what a lot of people don’t realize is that this week was a gigantic victory elsewhere in the world that no one seems to be celebrating – 82 of the 200+ girls who were kidnapped while taking exams at their school in Nigeria have been found and returned to their parents. When I heard this news yesterday, I was truly elated. I can’t imagine what those families must have been feeling, and the relief that even though the girls endured much horror, they seemed to be happy and healthy to be back with their parents. I couldn’t stop clicking through YouTube videos of the happy reunions. I’ve always thought that if what had happened in Nigeria happened in the USA or Canada or England, the entire world would be up in arms, and not forget after a few days like they did when it happened 3 years ago. I’ve actually been thinking about it since it happened, I even remember where I was when I first found out about it, getting ready to embark on my first Summer Odyssey back in 2014. It was shocking then, and it’s stayed with me consistently ever since. Although I’m really happy that those 82 are back, in addition to the 50 or so others who’ve escaped/been rescued over the years, there are still around 100 unaccounted for, which is way too many people to just forget about.

And just like the parents of the kids who died, were injured, or are MIA in Manchester right now, the parents of the Nigerian girls haven’t forgotten, despite the world seeming to do so.

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Still Hanging On…

It’s been some time since I’ve posted an update, but I’m still hanging in there. I proctored my final final exam for my Theater 120 students yesterday morning, and got a little sunburned walking around town afterwards. Most of the past 48 hours have been spent catching up on chores and getting some reading done. I finished a book and I’m close to finishing another. The one I finished wasn’t that great, but the ones I’m reading now are definitely review-worthy, so stay tuned.