Why It’s My Fault There is War

This Saturday morning I was up at 4:30 am thinking about WAR.

It’s because of something I saw on the news the night before.

Now, those who know me, know that I don’t watch the news. Or read the news. Or listen to the news.  I decided several years ago that it was affecting my happiness too much with all the devastating events that were happening in the world and I pretty much just stopped trying to understand or care what’s going on globally, nationally, even locally.

It’s a perfectly logical and healthy reaction: if you can’t understand or change something that is hurting you, IGNORE it and pretend it doesn’t exist.

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And it’s worked quite well for me for the last ten or so years. Because despite the fact that I have a four year degree in Political Science, where I took a WHOLE BUNCH OF CLASSES on world happenings, past and present, I let all of that knowledge slide out of my brain like a slow but steady leak until there was zero, zilch, zippo left…because I chose to not continuously apply what I learned in the here and now. It’s like not practicing a second language or a musical instrument. Use it or lose it. I opted to lose it. And I have been mostly okay with that.  

I wanted to be a writer not a politician.

But last night my husband made me watch ‘THE NEWS’. He said it was about time I paid attention to some shit that was a little deeper and more important than watching a Facebook post of a cat eating a piece of corn on the cob for a longer period of time than would deem interesting for anyone with any kind of an IQ greater than that of a squirrel. Which is what I was doing when he switched the television to ‘THE NEWS’.

My head jerked up away from my phone. “NOOOOOOO!” I said. “Turn it to something else! It burns my ears and eyes!”

Murder, Murder, Rape, Wall Street Corruption, Murder, Child Molestation, Bank Robbery, Rape, Embezzlement, Murder, Unemployment, Murder, Murder, Murder, Poverty, Airplane Crashes, Murder, Murder Murder, Suicides, Bombings, Suicide Bombings,  WAR WAR WAR. Trump, Hillary,  BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

Despite him trying to force me to watch, I literally was able to just block it all out like the stubborn brat that I am and make all the reporters voices sound like the adults from Charlie Brown cartoons. “WA, WA, WA WA WA WA , WAWA.”

But then something actually sparked my attention, completely against my will. There was this beautiful young woman, a local here in Spokane, Washington, named Tiffany Smiley,  who spoke about the idea of spending fifteen minutes during this memorial day weekend thinking or doing something to honor our veterans, past and present.  Her husband had been blinded in combat and two of their friends killed. She just wanted them and others to be remembered and honored for serving their country. My eyes and heart opened for the first time in a long while, when it came to thinking about anything beyond my immediate H World and I thought to myself “I could do that. I could pause for a simple fifteen minutes and really think about what Memorial Day is about.”

Here is the link to the newscast:

http://www.krem.com/news/local/spokane-county/spokane-couple-reinforces-meaning-of-memorial-day/218227927

I went to bed with this idea of ‘fifteen minutes’ in my heart and I woke up with it in my head. My morning journaling, which is normally filled with narcissistic vomit just flowed with thoughts about my country, its veterans, the subject of honor and how to honor, the different kinds of war, the reasons for war, all the people globally who have died as a result of war since the beginning of man’s existence. But then those thoughts started to HURT my heart, God they HURT. And I found myself wondering ‘has there ever been peace?’ and I COULD NOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION and my brain pretty much just spiraled out of control and exploded with the realization that my own HEART is a PERPETUAL WAR ZONE and that I AM AS MUCH TO BLAME for war as anyone in this world with my ignorance and my self centered attitude and the fact that I can pretty much pick a fight with a gnat. And God knows lesser things than fights with gnats have started wars.

So, immediately after my journaling, and six cups of coffee and four hours of manic internet research on the history of the the world, all the while thinking “MY GOD how did I MISS all of this in college? Was I drunk the whole time??” I announced to my husband: “I’m going to write a blog post about WAR and why it’s all my fault.”

I wish you could have seen the look on his face. He looked absolutely and completely appalled and I know it took everything in him to very calmly say (in a tone one would use to speak to a psychiatric patient who’s been off her meds for too long) “Well, you might want to be careful with that. It’s a very sensitive subject and considering it’s Memorial Day Weekend, you’re possibly going to piss some people off.”

What I heard him say was: “You are a fucking idiot who has not watched the news in over ten years so you don’t know shit about anything and have no right to write about war you moron wife of mine. I have deep, deep regrets that I distracted you from the corn on the cob cat. I’m not sure what I was thinking there.”

And thems is fighting words even if they aren’t what the real words were.  So I indignantly gathered up all of my college textbooks from the basement including my favorite one that I never read called “Europe Since Napoleon” and stacked those books up on my desk like a BOSS along with “The Essential Rumi” (for balance) and proceeded, while writing this post, to get in a fight with my husband. He just didn’t know it until I told him a couple hours later. Which is exactly what my point is. Sort of.

Think on this idea with me:

According to Conway W. Henderson, a writer about international law and relations, “one source claims that 14,500 wars have taken place between 3500 BC and the late 20th century, costing 3.5 billion lives, leaving only three hundred years of peace.”

Here is a website that lists chronologically the most renowned wars if you want to get upset, I mean educated, with me:

http://www.datesandevents.org/events-timelines/24-timeline-of-war.htm

This doesn’t include all the undocumented battles that occur everyday on a local, individual and molecular level. Like my little battle with my husband that he didn’t know about until I told him. But that’s documented now: 14,501.

And obviously those three hundred years of “peace” did not happen consecutively because there would be a book about it somewhere detailing 300 years of happy sighs and joyful singing and a whole bunch of ‘who begat who’ lists. And the reality is that while begetting is quite enjoyable (wink wink)  it would be a pretty boring read without any smoting in there somewhere, which is WHY (in my fruitlessly educated opinion) there have not been very long periods of peace. Someone is always smoting someone for begetting someone they shouldn’t have. It’s a vicious cycle of begetting and smoting.

Plus! Not only can we not agree on how to achieve world peace (I just read a summary of nine different peace theories that could possibly work for for the MAJORITY of us if everyone would just agree on one, which we can’t because a majority in peace means a minority is pissed and ready to rumble and that’s not World Peace), we can’t actually define what peace actually IS because it’s a subjective word and the reality is that sometimes one person’s peace comes at the expense of another’s. (Just ask one of my six children at any given moment.) So even when we might be in a brief period of not killing each other, we are still at least scowling at each other over the fence because of at least one of the three major causes of war: economics, power and religion. (The H World Cause of War Theory of begetting the wrong person and then getting smoted for it fits nicely in all three of these causes if you zero in the lens).

The reality is that war IS as much my fault as anyone’s. NO you dirty minded, wretched people, I haven’t been begotten by someone who should not have been begetting me (at least in recent times). BUT I AM a prickly bitch much of the time and my heart always seems to be fighting about something. I get mad and bitter when I am broke. I get angry and defensive when I think I have been made to feel small and powerless. And I have slammed the door on evangelists who don’t speak my spiritual language when I could have at least offered them a drink of water. We ALL need a drink of water every now and then.

So on this Memorial Day my hope is to ponder what it means to have peace in my own heart. Or at LEAST a temporary ceasefire when my family comes together for ribs and cornbread. This is the one thing I CAN do to honor the brave people who have made the ultimate sacrifice, for MY country YES, most absolutely and assuredly, but also those who died on “the other side” whose loved ones mourn equally. Death is brutal, painful and certain for all of us, even when there is NOT war. And while I can only try and fix my own heart in this broken world, you’ve all read the famous Albert Einstein quote:

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

the reality is we (and I) will probably always be at war in some way shape or form. It’s what we do. We, most of us, are lost and angry and scared people who lash out. And I speak for myself ONLY when I say that burying my head in the sand is not going to stop it. Nor is fighting with mostly innocent gnats and husbands.

But I can from this moment on keep my

eyes wide open,

heart as well

for with knowledge and love

there’s a story to tell

I just made that up. But it sounds rather poetic and hopeful.

#MemorialDay15

How I am Going to Prepare for the Eminent Electro Magnetic Pulse and/or Zombie Apocalypse

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 (This is not really me. I mean just LOOK at my hair.)

Okay, first, I need to confess something: I have become completely ignorant (on purpose) these last few years about what is going on in the world. I do not watch, read or listen to the news, at all. Most of the stuff going on is just plain upsetting and I decided that the continuous flow of bad news was beginning to affect my ability to believe I could make a positive difference in the world.

The irony of course is that I have a political science degree and a passion for politics and world history. Or at least I used to. But the problem with knowing your history (if you are a cynic) is that you eventually catch on to the fact that the present is just a never ending repeat of the same stupid mistakes made by us dork humans. I am not a cynic, but was fast becoming one. And cynics do not help the world, they harm it. Besides, I got busy with stuff.

So I stopped worrying about what was going on in the world… there was waaaay too much broken stuff that I felt powerless to fix. I chose the “ignorance is bliss” stand and narrowed my focus to my family, to work life and to re-posting Facebook pictures of baby hippos and cats and dogs doing funny things, my mentality being that I can best help the world be a better place by trying to not repeat my OWN mistakes, which is no small feat, believe you me. I am currently on an every third day “got it together” roll right now, which is better than last week. No need for me to worry about the state of the big mean nasty world: the state of H World is tricky enough for me to keep in line. Besides, baby hippos are funner to think about than war, disease, murder, pollution, and the mean spirited people who are causing all this shit. I know what you are thinking: ignorant narcissists with bad grammar do not help the world either, but they are generally more content with their capabilities than cynics and they sleep a whole lot better. Just sayin.

Anyhow, a couple weeks ago, my in-laws came to visit us. They are wonderful, bright, devout, engaged in the world and all its trouble, brilliant conversationalists.

And I couldn’t keep up.

With anything they talked about.

I was able to pull a little bit of pretend ‘smart’ out of my ass when it came to talking about Obama Care by just frowning. I nodded yes and shook my head no at the same time (which is hard to do) when the VA scandal was brought up. Damn straight that dude should have resigned. And nod yes, terrible that our tax money is being used to pay for ____ when there are starving people in my own back yard. Literally. Just look at how skinny our three littlest boys have gotten, I should feed them but I am too busy paying taxes. Yes, horrible what’s going on in Darfur, Ukraine, Iraq, Nigeria, China…though I did feel I was pretty informed on what was going on in China: “Can you believe the Chinese government banned Facebook in all but a 17 square radius of their country ?! No wonder things are so difficult there!” Their blank looks made me go back to “nod, frown, shake my head, repeat” mode. It was just easier. They would be leaving in a few days: no sense letting them realize what an ignorant moron I had become over the last few years.

But then they started talking about EMP and what their emergency plans were when it happened, “which was eminent” and I had a very hard time keeping my fake smart face on. I had no idea what EMP was but thought maybe I SHOULD if it involved making emergency plans. It’s important to know what to pack. I casually did a quick search on my iPhone and all those years of remaining blissfully ignorant came tumbling down upon me like an “I told you it’s a bad idea to ignore the world” rockslide. EMP is some bad ass shit people, equal in impact to the zombie apocalypse and WAY worse than the Chinese government banning Facebook. For you ignorant people who do not know what this is, take a moment and look it up. Or you can ask your know-it-all children who have seen the latest Godzilla movie… we will all wait for you to catch up…go on now…learn something useful.

Now, fast forward to the conversation I had that night with my husband:

Me: “OMG!!!! It COULD happen you know! All it takes is one crazy ass dummy with a grudge and one TEENY TINY nuclear bomb that he doesn’t even need to AIM! He just has to explode it in the atmosphere above us-and POOF-there goes all our stuff that we need! I HATE pooping in the woods. We at LEAST need to stock up on toilet paper.”

Husband: “Why do you assume it’s a HE who is going to do this? Everyone knows that WOMEN hold on to grudges far longer and far deeper than men do.”

Me: “Well, it IS a pretty smart way to completely screw with civilization as we know it. Maybe it IS a woman who thought of this treachery. I don’t know. All I know is that I wish I DIDN’T know about this. It’s terrible. I am not even prepared for the zombie apocalypse and now THIS!”

Husband: “You’re so much easier to live with when you are pretending you don’t know what’s going on in the world. Why don’t you go make a to-do list or something? That will make you feel better.”

And that’s exactly what I did. It’s so nice to live with someone who understands you completely, even if that person is a sarcastic (loving) jerk face.

Things I Will Need to Have on Hand when EMPZA* Happens

*Might as well lump these two things together. My in depth research (I am in the know now people…a changed woman) has lead me to believe they will both happen at the same time. Besides, the preparation is mostly the same, except that you need longer pokey sticks to keep the zombies at bay as compared to short pokey sticks (element of surprise) to keep the regular bad people away. Plus, I am tired of having to spell check apocalypse every single time I type it. I wonder if I should trademark the acronym. I could become famous! Does owning an acronym create money making opportunities?

Anyway, I mentally went through a typical day in the life of me and narrowed it down to a few really important things, at least things important for my own personal happiness because when I am happy, everyone around me is happy, or at least it is less upsetting when they aren’t but I still am. Happy that is.

First, there is absolutely no sense in stocking up on food. The looters will more than likely take it all within the first week. And by looters, I mean my own children. There is no such thing as stocking up on food in my house. When you buy a bunch of stuff to eat, they eat twice as much as normal, twice as fast, like locusts to the fields. Food lasts much longer in our house when there is “nothing to eat”. Though I might get a 50# bag of white rice. Everyone hates rice. So it will last until we are either desperate enough to eat it or someone figures out how to make the lights work again.

I will for sure need a large supply of paper and pens. It will be important to record the EMPZA experience so that future generations can repeat all our mistakes in a more spectacular way the next time it happens. Obviously my lap top won’t be working so paper will have to do. Plus we will have to learn how to communicate with each other in a way that doesn’t involve texts or Facebook messages. Notes might be a good way. Like “Went to go kill a deer, be back in four or five days, unless I get eaten by a zombie or find a better place to live where there is more to eat than just white rice.” Or “Do NOT go into the basement, I have captured fourteen zombies down there and they are severely pissed off. One of them looks a LOT like your dad but I can’t be sure. It’s complicated. But if it is him and he wasn’t a zombie when I locked him down there, well, he IS now. So don’t go down there. It will just upset you. I’m trying not to think about it.” Yes Lots of paper and pens will be required for EMPZA.

Toilet paper, wet wipes and a shovel are serious necessities. We will probably dig the holes in the neighbor’s back yard. They are in Germany and probably will be a while getting back home, especially if planes don’t work or if the zombies cause them travel problems. I am thinking I should start doing some squats to get ready for this part of the suffering. This is one thing that is not covered in ‘Walking Dead’: how hard it is to poop when you don’t have a comfy toilet seat to rest your tooshy on. It’s especially rough on the quads. Also we will for sure need the long pokey stick close to the toilet paper: I can’t imagine anything wrecking a satisfying bowel movement more than when a zombie tries to get you and you don’t have your long pokey stick. It’s bad enough having to squat.

And so that you don’t all think that my life is so shallow that I only care about writing and pooping (though I wouldn’t have to go to work anymore so I would for sure have more time for both of those things with EMPZA) I should add a few more necessities to my preparation list. Matches, a good sharp axe for chopping down trees for fire wood, gallons and gallons of bottled water (no sense worrying at this point about BPA or other endocrine disruptors, besides the water is for washing my hair, not drinking), a big pot, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, moisturizer and hair gel…lots of hair gel…curling irons will be a thing of the past for a bit but there is no sense ignoring personal hygiene and possibly being mistaken for a zombie, like the husband in the basement may have been. Accidentally.

Anyway. That’s my plan for now. It’s still a work in progress but I at least have the important things worked out. I will say that since this newfound knowledge of the impending EMPZA, I have decided it’s a good idea to be at least somewhat mindful of what’s going on outside my circle of influence if only to be able to do more than just nod and frown in conversations. Now I can actually intelligently take part in them. Am I right? Ha!