Browsing Category The Way I See It

Between the Pages of the Book

Have you ever seen someone that you like, but something about that person annoys you to no end?  Such is my dilemma.  The person who shall remain nameless is an Oscar winning Hollywood personality who appears on one of my favorite daily TV programs.  So what is it about this actress and fellow Boomer that drives me crazy?  It is her appearance.  Yes, I did say it!  Now I will say this – I have no problem with her physical appearance, because barring cosmetic surgery, weaved hair and fake nails, the appearance of most women is what it is.  But a Hollywood celebrity, who even has a star on the Walk of Fame, could dress more appropriately on television, instead of appearing on the program everyday looking like an adult-sized Raggedy Ann doll.   

Certainly, I know that we should not judge a book by the cover, so if you are mentally lashing me with wet noodles, understand that I am merely expressing something that other people think, but may not say aloud; that Ms. Walk of Fame’s attire is a turn-off.  I am not suggesting that she should dress up daily in stiletto heels and a designer dress, even Oprah doesn’t do that.  Well, on second thought, Oprah does.  But when a popular performer is on television, she could certainly dress appropriately.  It would surely beat sauntering on stage in a baggy shirt or sweater over top faded, albeit trendy jeans and odd looking shoes.  The latter of which she has said are designer shoes, including Pradas.  Still, her overall attire is not exactly business casual.  Many Google employees dress down, but not ridiculously.

In answer to the unasked question – nobody made me the fashion police.  And wardrobe aside, I am quite fond of the actress, because regardless of the fact that her appearance screams unsophisticated, homeless, high school drop-out, she doesn’t wear those shoes.  She is quite articulate and extremely intelligent, and what I most admire about her is that she speaks her mind.  She put the C in candid.  And anyone who dislikes what she has to say – or what she wears, myself included – well that’s just too bad, isn’t’ it?  As I have often heard her say on the TV program, she doesn’t “care what people think.” 

Granted my opinion isn’t worth the soles on her Rick Owens shoes.  And the adage is true that clothes don’t make the man – nor in this case the woman — nevertheless the unspoken rule in our society is that people are expected to dress appropriately, particularly at their workplace.  In urban vernacular that means represent!   Although the object of my discontent could easily win the award for worse dressed woman on TV, don’t be fooled by her unflattering appearance.  She is a smart cookie.  And while her fans may object to my own frankness about her on-camera wardrobe, unlike WikiLeaks, I do not anticipate that my post will incur worldwide outrage and cause me to go into hiding.

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STAND UP AND BE COUNTED

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Those words of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speak proficiently about people who talk the talk and walk the walk; ideally his words would also motivate closet activist, people who hesitate to speak up or take action at the opportune time.  We all know someone who loud-talks up a storm behind the scenes, complaining about what “somebody” should or should not say or do to get something done, but when the occasion arises for the whiner to speak publicly about the issue, his or her jaws lock tighter than a hard shell clam.

I believe that some people are born activists, while others grow into those shoes. It doesn’t matter how they arrive at being a crusader, what is significant is that at some point they learn the importance of speaking out and championing their cause, whether it is a global effort like Going Green or working to eliminate homelessness in their community.  Activists are generally mindful of their Ps and Qs – they prepare, participate, and when necessary, they question. Then, they pursue a course to affect the cause that they are championing – whether it means joining their colleagues in a public protest, taking part in a fact finding survey, or casting a vote.

On the other hand closet activists avoid publicly stating their opinion, preferring to cower in the shadows and grumble instead of taking a stand.  No one is right or wrong all of the time.  Sometimes we make good choices, other times bad.  But regardless, the point is — express yourself.  Whether you support a cause or totally disagree with it.  Man or woman up!  Let your position be known. 

People who have the opportunity to speak up and refuse, basically deserve whatever they get from the outcome of a decision by the majority.  Life is a crapshoot, a gamble.  Each one of us – from the President of the United States to the homeless person on the street – has only limited control over some things and absolutely no control over other things.  It is liberating to be able to state a position.  You may change your mind later on, you may even regret a decision, but you can feel pleased that you at least had enough backbone to assert yourself.   Any coward can opt out. In the words of Malcolm X, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”

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How Do We Say Goodbye?

I occasionally hear people wondering aloud about why other people write messages to the dead. Those who question the act say it is irrational because, they reason, the departed cannot read the notices directed to them. But open any daily newspaper to the Obituaries page and you will likely find “In Memoriam” tucked among the Death Notices. Those sentimental ads containing poems, acknowledgement of anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions give credence to the Latin phrase which means “in the memory of.” 

Grief is a strange animal and we all react to it in our own unique way. Consider funerals for instance. They are certainly no laughing matter – but with all due respect – some of us can recall at least one funeral that had comic relief.

Imagine a pastor has enthusiastically rendered the eulogy and is seated in the pulpit, dabbing his sweaty forehead with a folded white handkerchief. The senior choir, looking solemn in their funeral robes, is swaying side-to-side with the precision of a pendulum clock, as they croon the fourth stanza of a long, tear-jerking hymn. Amazingly, cousin Grace who is sitting in the pews, jumps to her feet and lets out an earsplitting scream. Her shoulder-shaking sobs resonate throughout the church as people seated nearby gently pull her back onto the bench and try to calm her. Meanwhile, across the aisle, another woman leaps up. Spreading her arms toward Heaven she snaps her head back, inadvertently knocking off her wide-brimmed, peacock feather hat,  sending it onto the lap of the person behind her. Her own blood-curding wails fill the air, as white-uniformed ushers carrying Jesus paper fans rush to aid both women.

Switch your mental channel to another, less dramatic service. It is equally as reverent, but more upbeat. A local band follows the brief eulogy with a performance of Kirk Franklin’s Brighter Day, and some family members and guests take turns making a joyful noise as they share laugher and humorous anecdotes about the deceased, celebrating a buoyant home going for their loved one. 

All things considered, it is understandable that heavyhearted souls express the loss of a loved one in their own way. Some place flowers annually on a gravesite or toast with a shot of wine, others write In Memoriam.

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