Archive for October, 2012

Fun sized candy? This is more like it.

After years of looking, I’ve finally found candy that I would deem “fun sized.” Now who’s the Smartie?

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Look out for what he’s selling.

“Romney needs to complete the sale.” Jill Hazelbaker, Communications director for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Ever try on a pair of shoes and hesitate about buying them because they pinch? You know what a good salesman does. He offers to “take them into the back and stretch them.” No one knows what that means, but when he brings them back, they seem to feel better. “They’re genuine leather. They’ll give a little,” he assures you. You look at your feet. You look in the mirror. You love these shoes. You buy them, believing that after a short “break-in” period they’ll be comfortable.

Of course, at the best stores, you’ve got a little insurance. It’s called a return policy.

Romney is that shoe salesman. In the first debate, he could have sold anyone a shiny new pair of shoes, no matter how badly they fit. The candidate who looked straight into the camera and promised a better America came across so convincingly that he could have sold a pair of stilettos to my great-grandmother and a pair of clogs to my teenager.

If only he were selling shoes on November 6th. Then, when we all figured out that what he had sold us didn’t fit, or that we didn’t like it, or that it still hurt, we could return it. We could return him.

But that’s not how the presidential election works. Vote for the wrong guy, and you’re stuck with a bad fit, not just for four years, but for as long as a Supreme Court appointment lives.

When an experienced campaign director insists, “Romney needs to complete the sale,” I cringe.

Look long and hard at that salesman. He’s selling snake oil. Women, don’t buy it.



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Felix Baumgartner takes a leap from space.

Here’s what I know from walking into a preschool class eighteen years ago with my first child. Every class has a Felix Baumgartner in it, and I don’t want my kids being friends with him. Or her. Or anyone who thinks it’s fun to jump because there’s a bridge, or climb because there’s an Everest, or dare because he’s a devil.

I’m talking to you, Felix Baumgartner, Mr. Risk-Your-Life-Jumping-Out-Of-A-Space-Capsule-For-Fun. Think about your mother, for goodness sakes.

Does this ring a bell? “It’s those friends of his. They’re a bad influence.” Every mother alive has blamed the first and second and sometimes third round of bad behavior on the company her kid keeps. Peer pressure is the scapegoat of every parent caught hand wringing in despair as she wonders why her child made bad choices.

So imagine if your kid hung out with Felix. Every night at the table would be the same old same old. “I don’t care if he jumped from a space capsule. I said NO.” Or, “I don’t care if he fell at Mach 1. NO.” Or even, in utter despair, “No, you may not jump from three atmospheres. Not today. Not tomorrow. Never. Understood? Now go finish your homework.”

Felix had to be tough at home, tough at school, and just plain tough. Maybe if he’d been in middle school now, he’d have been medicated out of his tendency to push the boundaries of fear and sanity. I’m not necessarily promoting the possible merits of medicating our youth, but perhaps on the right cocktail he would have been happy just bungy jumping or ice climbing or heli-skiing, like more typical thrill seekers.

The dinner conversation would still be the same, though on a smaller magnitude. “I don’t care if it’s a one-time-only opportunity to squirrel-fly from the Eiffel Tower. Not while there’s breath in my body.”

As far as I’m concerned, the fear-buzz Felix experienced before plunging toward earth could only be a fraction of what his mother felt. And I’m guessing she doesn’t enjoy the buzz from the emotional intensity of life-threatening activity the way her son does.

Sometimes it sucks to be the mother.

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