Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Bird

Ah! The bird. If I didn't like it so much myself I would be offended by it. And I guess it is a good thing I am not since I saw it twice last week, but I think that's pretty good karma considering how many times I probably gave it out. Wikipedia defines the "bird" as follows: as In Western culture, the finger (as in giving someone the finger), also known as the middle finger, the highway salute, the bird (as in flicking, flipping or flying the bird), or to flip someone off, is an obscene hand gesture, often meaning the phrase "[screw] you" or "up yours."

For me personally, I don't use it as a "highway salute", usually. Although last week, after being visually molested, I was given "the nod" by some nasty old douchebag (I was pmsing) in the parking lot of the post office. To which I am sure I gave the look. The look my daughter's male teacher told her females have that is a form of bullying. He said all girls give it, their mothers give and their grandmothers gave it before them... I laughed, because we all know that look, that death stare that sends shivers down the backs of men and makes the hair on a woman receiving the look stand up like a dog when they know "it's on!". Anyway, I ended up behind this man on the highway. Yes, the highway, the place you can go at least 40 miles an hour. Well, the highest the eye rapist could go was 4. He just sat at the light after it turned red. Not for a second, for several. So I tapped the horn a couple of times to get him going. He moved. Like a freakin' snail. Eventually, I could get over into the lane that was actually moving. Nasty eye rapist not only flings the highway salute out the window to me, he screams his definition with it... and it wasn't "up yours". Now when this story was being told to my husband, he said "and I know you handled that in the Christian way" to which I replied "Actually, I thought about what the bible says about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. And it seemed that was what he would have others do unto him so I gave him his wish." And then I got in front of him and went 4 miles an hour. When he got in the other lane, I got in front of him in that lane at 4 miles and hour, and so on and so forth for about 4 lane changes until he realized he'd messed with the wrong person and took the first exit he could find. Sometimes the look just isn't enough for some people and your must take your bullying a step further.

Wikipedia goes on to tell us the origin of the bird, which I found interesting, because really. who thinks this stuff up?! It says: It is identified as the digitus impudicus (impudent finger) in Ancient Roman writings] and reference is made to using the finger in ancient Greek comedy to insult another person. The widespread usage of the finger in many cultures is likely due to the geographical influence of the Roman Empire and Greco-Roman civilization. Another possible origin of this gesture can be found in the first-century Mediterranean world, where extending the digitus impudicus was one of many methods used to divert the ever-present threat of the evil eye. (Seems "the look" and "the bird" have always gone hand in hand.)

Did you see the word "comedy" in there? I smile inside every time I give someone the gift of the bird. I even warn them the gift could be coming (i.e. "have you seen my new ring?"). When someone throws a little smartass comment your way, and you've got nothing... you've got the bird. Given with a smile, I think the bird can be the compliment that says "haha you got me... that time". When you've lost and you know it, throwing in the towel with an added flick of the finger just feels better than sticking out your tongue which just causes your face to crinkle then wrinkle. Plus it is always a way to show off a manicure. I guess acting like an adult in these situations and doing nothing could work too, but how boring is that!?!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lessons from my 30's (Part 2 - Dealing With Death)

During my 30's I would like to say I learned a good bit about dealing with death. Truthfully though, I didn't learn a whole lot more than it happens and it hurts like hell when you lose someone you love. Before my 30's my only real experience with death was that of one grandparent and a few friends in my teen years. It is true that death is easier to deal with as a child as we most definitely are more resilient. In my 30's though, I lost all my remaining grandparents, a parent, two best friends and a couple of friends since childhood. The pain of losing a parent is the hardest of those, but the others, as with most all deaths leave you with a dark cloud following you that on most days you can stay a few steps ahead of, but every now and then that cloud is on top of you... and with it comes the rain.

This week, I ran into the mother of one of those childhood friends I'd lost in WalMart, of course. We stood in the front of the store and talked for what seemed like an hour and even teared up a few times. We compared our losses to that of losing a limb, specifically a leg. You learn to walk without it, but never without the effect of the loss being evident in nearly every aspect of your life. Some of those effects I believe are not necessarily bad ones. You learn not to take life for granted and more importantly not to take your loved ones for granted. You learn what you will and what you won't spend your time putting up with. You decide who deserves a little more of you and who and what you are wasting your time on. Death can leave you bitter, if you let it. But it shouldn't. The emptiness left behind can never be filled but in can be recognized in others. My only experience in the loss of immediate family is that of a grown child who has lost a parent. So many who had experienced the same loss recognized the various feelings I was dealing with reached out to me in the way that only they could. They were my anchors.

So, in retrospect, I did learn. I learned I wasn't alone, although your loss may not be of the same person, so many of the feelings were the same and eventually you do want to share them usually with someone who understands them. People who haven't faced that loss may view you as "not getting past it" and pitying you. They don't understand what to expect from you. People who have just know. Again, that is why women and in this case men too, should share with others. Your story could be what they need to hear.

One thing I will never understand though is how someone can get through it without a Christian foundation. I know when people read a lot of my posts they have to wonder about me. I know my language and actions many times do not glorify God. It is a constant struggle to combine all of me into a person that doesn't make God look down and just shake his head with a deep sigh. But I know he loves me! I know he carried me through each loss. Knowing he was the one who welcomed my loved ones with open arms to the the most beautiful place ever is what makes me smile through my tears. How can you smile through the loss if that is a picture you are unable to fathom? How can one believe after death there is nothing else? Why would God give us all this beauty and joy on earth just to be done when our mind and body is? I've seen beautiful evidence of God in his people when life begins and when life ends. His grace is my lifeline of survival. I am thankful I have never learned what life is like without it.