Saturday, December 27, 2008

The mystery of the holidays

Tonight we watched wonderful fireworks at the Winterfest (which we gave a pass to for the daytime stuff for the first time since moving was cold AND wet, so traipsing around town didn't feel too appealing - PLUS we were able to give Theresa a google-up on a couple of the questions they needed to answer correctly to qualify for the trip to Disney!) JAC stayed home, just Ori and Becky and I made it. We have enjoyed visits with a ton of wonderful friends (though there are some we haven't seen much of this holiday...ahem!). We have chocolate biscotti from Caroline and Tom and the most HUMONGOUS basket full of chocolate from the Pillays, scratchies still to scratch and lots of fun games and stuff to play. In general, though I find people wearisome in general, they are cheerier this time of year than any other season. And listening to my almost 4 yo singing "I wish you a merry Christmas" 8000 times is sweet, if eventually deafening. So the mystery of the season? Why am I so crabby???

I joined the gym early (and snagged an awesome coupon!), which has made the end of 2008 a good kick in my pants! I am into going, right now, hopefully pairing it with some Wii Fit exercise, maybe breaking the seal on the ole treadmill from Canada, and a few good walks with Zami should round out the exercise scenario for me in the next few months. The pounds that have come off - not a mystery. The stuff stuck to the bottom of the table? Mysterious. And disgusting. Why the digital watch I got my 10yo doesn't work, why the singing card my SIL sent Ori stopped working, why the kitchen can not stay clean for 20 straight minutes...all mysterious. Which phone belongs on the upstairs charger? Mysterious. Where all the chocolate chip fudge brownies went? Not mysterious. Just look at the almost 4yo's shirt. And pants. And the table. And under the table. Sigh.

Which would I prefer - to be able to change the past or see the future (my beer bottle is asking). Well, I think to change the past (if I HAD to). I like mysteries. I like finding people who look nothing like what they used to look like on facebook and figuring out where I know them from when they friend me. The mystery of the holidays this year - why I am looking forward to next year. :-D

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Stampede for greed.

"Shoppers on New York's Long Island broke down doors and surged into the Valley Stream Wal-Mart at 5 a.m. last Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, known as "Black Friday," traditionally the busiest retail shopping day of the year.

Jdimytai Damour, 34, was knocked to the ground and trampled to death. He had been assigned to cover security as an independent contractor." (from Reuters on Wed. Dec. 3rd 2008)

I completely 'get' the tight budgets this (and most) years. We are tight too! That still would NEVER get me to cause damage to someone to get a toy at 40% off. It would never EVER get me to neglect my common sense, or to join in a mob of any kind. My integrity, and every single person's right to life is so far and away more important than any possible discount, that this never should have happened.

The greed that inspired this 'mob' (definition: a large crowd of people, esp. one that is disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence) is so deeply rooted in our social well being, that it may be too late to redirect social norms to value human life over material gain. Those shoppers involved (you know who you are!) will now be able to offer their children, not one quality toy, but a buttload of toys under the tree. I am truly sickened. To you I say: you know you were out of control. It is YOUR responsibility to be true to your morals (is it really ok with you if someone else tramples you child in a mad rush to get a cheaper Guitar Hero? What if it were you? Is there some kind of monetary formula you can think of that would REPLACE you to your family? Can you possibly explain this to me, to yourself? Can you explain it to your children? Here ya go little Suzy, here's your new Barbie Remote Control Car that I got after trampling a few people - aren't I just the most dedicated, wonderful mommy ever!).

Why is it Wal Mart's fault that a man was accidentally suffocated by trampling under a completely insane mob of materialistic cheapos. I believe in the end that they provided a modicum of protection for their employees - it was the SHOPPERS who were out of control, and truly who are to be held responsible, not the store. I truly hope that the cameras can help police to target those individuals who ARE responsible, so that they may be held accountable for their horrendous behavior.

Without excusing this accountability, there is an overabundance of advertising for sales and savings at these big box stores. More important than quality, employment, production, need, education, or even profitability is the need to feed the public greed. Shame on you too. So many parents feel the pinch already, and you advertisers are so busy selling these products to children (who put the screws to their parents at every turn) that it can really ramp up the tension in crowded situations. Stop selling to children, and let good products sell themselves.

In many ways, this incident is a signal in blood. The credit crunch/mortgage/recession thing going on - all supposedly started because so many Americans too loans WAY too big for them to truly afford - is also about being responsible for your own behavior. Whether you are part of a mob or part of a swindle, it's increasingly important for people to consider their part in every thing they do - rush through the doors of a bank or a toy store - rushing is not likely to gain them in the end. And the costs are off the radar, impacting lives in so many ways. Whether the magnitude is a national economy or one life, I believe the crisis is not a singularity, but a social cry of attention to get back to moral basics.

I send profuse, humble apologies to the family of Jdimytai Damour, as well as the others who were hurt in the stampede for greed. I am so deeply disturbed that my fellow citizens would do this. I am truly horrified at how he died, and I send you blessings; may his death bring direction to those who have lost their moral compass, and may you and he find peace in a place filled with love.