Somalia is the new Bangladesh

As children grow and develop their humor sense, they learn the delights of shared ridicule. If we’ve raised our children right they won’t ridicule peers or authority figures or those different from them. They’ll mock us.

A gaggle of post-littles/pre-teens guffaw as they cross eyes and loll out tongues.
“Your mom says your face will stay that way? Mine does too!”
Or, “Does your mom ever say, “If your friends were all jumping off a cliff would you?”
And then one will chime in,
“My folks always say, ‘wait till you have kids of your own.’”
At this point they all laugh uproariously. Kids of their own?
That day is, like, a million years in the future.

And then comes the inevitable: “My mom always says, ‘Eat your vegetables! There are starving children in Somalia!’ So I say, ‘If they want my Lima beans so bad they can have them!’”

Some moms might sub in India or the Sudan or North Korea.
But the Momism is the same. When I was growing up the children in Bangladesh were starving.
I wondered how eating my liver and Brussels Sprouts would fill their stomachs.

It wouldn’t. So why don’t moms can this ridiculous phrase? Its been around longer than I have.
As long as America has had so much food that almost half of it goes to waste.
As long as children see buffet lines with more options than their phones have apps.
As long as first world children have never known the gnawing ache of hunger.
Not temporary hunger pangs, but the
agonizing starvation that distends little tummies while shrinking little bodies to loosely fleshed skeletons.

As long as our children can pile food on their plates and after a few bites toss the rest, words about starving children have little impact.

Moms have a lot to deal with. Children have food preferences and sensitivities. Many moms need to keep kids safe from allergens and pesticides. We don’t want our kids falling into eating disorders so we don’t tell them to clean their plates.

We have so much food that sometimes we view it as an enemy instead of realizing how precious it is.
We need to learn ourselves and teach our children that full tables and refrigerators and pantries aren’t our right, but a blessing and privilege.

Let’s exercise our imaginations. Picture one of those little ones from India or Somalia or somewhere in our own city who doesn’t have enough to eat. Imagine them watching us scrape good food into the trash. Imagine a child—who washed dung from seeds for something to eat—sees us turn up fussy noses at meat, potatoes and 2 kinds of vegetables.
Or liver and Brussels Sprouts.

I, too, need pictures of those empty babies with the puzzled eyes
next time I am too lazy to heat up leftovers and order out for pizza. Or when I wait till the food in the fridge turns green and I can just dump it.

“You have so much,” the hollow voices say. “Please, respect it. We do.”

Another Momism: We don’t know what we have till its gone.

An attitude of humble gratefulness and stewardship can grow and spill out. It creates empathy which creates people who not only enjoy the blessing of food, but share it.

Lord, this Thanksgiving, let me be thankfully aware. Let me be alert for those who don’t have tables groaning with provision. Let me be a steward of this bounty. And please, let me partake with gratitude and amazement.

‘I’ is Understood

Prudes are often self-appointed grammar nannies, (making sure apostrophes are tucked in the cozy correct spots and participles don’t dangle dangerously.) The Tuesday Prude, however, hated diagramming sentences in school. Maybe it looked too much like math. When it was time to explore the beautiful world of grammar with our home schooled prudlings, we choose a curriculum that didn’t technically require diagramming.

It was a good program and they learned enough not to embarrass me. The closest they came to diagramming was the requirement to pull prepositional phrases from each sentence and label the leftovers:  subject, verb, direct object etc.
Occasionally an imperative sentence reared its imperious head:
Shut the door.
Stop strangling your brother.
Rescue that dangling participle.

Where is the subject in the above sentences? We learned that the imperative is addressed to ‘you’.
You’ shut the door.
You’ stop strangling your brother.
You’. . .
You get the picture.
Their job was to label the subject as ‘You is understood’.
It was sort of fun to say. ‘You is understood.’

The fun didn’t stop when my boys finished school. There is a new way to use this rule.

It keeps the world from knowing just what an egomaniac I (aka The Tuesday Prude) am.

One of the first rules a good writer learns: avoid beginning every sentence with the word
Even in a blog, even on a Facebook status, or personal communication—start too many sentences with ‘I’ and readers get the notion that the writer is self-centered.

My readers would be right.

Ever hear the phrase ‘She thinks the world revolves around her’? Try as I will to convince myself that the world actually revolves on a tipsy axis, my id, ego and superego all argue the opposite. In the world of the self-centered I am firmly in the middle.

Narcissism, however, wears thin with readers. As a budding writer I don’t want to alienate readers. They want to believe I am interested in them, and I am. Truly I am, but this nasty little core of me wants to make sure no one bumps me from Centerville. Because no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, deep down in my fascinating self is the idea that everyone else should be captivated with ME.

So I develop strategies to hide my egomania. Look back and you’ll discover the sneaky ways I wrote an entire post about ME without once starting a sentence with ‘I’. And I didn’t even hide behind The Tuesday Prude.
The Tuesday Prude, while a great 3rd person subject to hide behind, doesn’t always address the issues at hand.
All this means that sometimes, unfortunately, it is almost impossible to keep the
I-word anywhere but the engine part of a sentence.

That is where my ‘You is understood’ training comes in handy.

Instead of writing
I am trying to avoid starting sentences with ‘I’”,
I drop the ‘I’ at the beginning of the sentence and it becomes a friendly, informal
‘Trying to avoid…”

The ‘I’ is understood but it sits modestly out of the reader’s line of vision, understanding that I am really the subject of me but not trumpeting the fact.

It gets easier:
“Loving this organic casserole that just came out of the oven!”
“Going to buy a new pair of jeans in a smaller size!”
“Just enjoying the cutest grandbabies on earth!”

All the above are just underhanded ways of saying:
“Wondering if everyone heard that the earth’s axis shifted? Pretty sure they know who it rotates around now!!”

How to celebrate the 5th of November


Don’t you hate this awkward holiday wasteland between Halloween/Reformation Day and Thanksgiving? While The Tuesday Prude strongly encourages the observation of Veterans Day, it is one of those sober, reflective sort of holidays. But the trick-or-treating candy is running low and it’s too early to defrost the turkey. Is there anything to celebrate?

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

If you are British you already have your Guy Fawkes day cards sent, your Guy Fawkes bonfire laid, your Guy Fawkes effigy stuffed. If you live west of the Atlantic you may need a little history lesson:
In 1605, Guy Fawkes and his 12 co-conspirators planned to blow up the government in general and King James in particular. Guy was caught trying futilely to ignite barrels of old gunpowder he’d hidden in the basement of Parliament. Poor Guy’s days were dramatically shortened upon this discovery.

Every Nov. 5 since, bonfires are lit all over England, Guy Fawkes is burnt in effigy, fireworks are set, money is begged (sort of like the monetary form of trick-or-treating) and candy called Treacle Toffee is made.

Maybe we Yanks should start gathering the ingredients to make Treacle Toffee (brown sugar, cream of tarter, black treacle and corn syrup.) Because word on the street is that some folks want to bring Guy Fawkes to this side of the Atlantic.

We are all in favor of more holidays, especially ones that include bonfires and black treacle. But Guy Fawkes Day may present some challenges for multicultural, slightly schizo, holiday crazy Americans.

States-rights, libertarian types will hold Guy up as a hero and wear masks to honor him (he looked like a cross between a Pilgrim Forefather and one of the Three Musketeers). Supporters of big, centralized government will join their British cohorts and burn him in effigy.

Those who want to see their 2nd amendment rights upheld will celebrate Guy and his gunpowder. Those who believe the right to bear arms is outdated and dangerous will burn him in effigy. Well, maybe they won’t burn him. Just wave a can of pepper spray.

Guy wanted to blow up Parliament and the king because they were Protestant, and Guy wanted England to return to its Catholic identity.  Maybe, in the spirit of good, ecumenical fun, Catholic parishes would dress up in the Guy masks while those who identify themselves as Protestants might sing the little ditty below:
Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
‘Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God’s providence he was catch’d,
With a dark lantern and burning match

So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

The multitude of Royal Family fans in the States will shudder at the thought of ANYONE daring to hurt one of precious little Prince George’s ancestors and give the Guy Fawkes effigy a piece of their mind. High fructose corn syrup haters will experiment with Stevia sweeteners in the treacle toffee and radical environmental groups will picket wood-burning bonfires. Hallmark will make Guy cards and ornaments and we’ll have big inflatable Guy Fawkes in our front yards.

Has something about this made you a bit uncomfortable? Maybe you are reminded  of a shameful period in our nation’s past that involved burning symbols as a means of intimidation?  The Tuesday Prude agrees. The idea of burning anything that is supposed to resemble a person brings back too many bad memories.  But Americans can still have fun with this holiday! The bonfire (sans a stuffed Guy) can be the ultimate form of relative fun. It can represent whatever you want it to.


Whether you are pro or con big government, Catholic or Protestant, want to abolish weapons or stockpile them, love the House of Windsor or can’t name a single person who lives in Buckingham Palace, Guy Fawkes Day can be a great way to fight back the dark November night.
We can do this, my fellow Americans. We can turn this bastion of British merry-making into an American-flavored holiday.
Holler boys, holler boys.
And see if we can have a Charlie Brown Guy Fawkes TV special ready by next Fifth of November.