Garfunkel isn’t all you need

Some of those childish dreams and cringing humiliations of our past need to be pulled out and gently chuckled over. It helps exorcise them. This particularly mortifying bogie has now been relegated to a manageable discomfiture. But youthful foolishness can bear the fruit of adult insight.

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A song, I realized that fateful night, wasn’t going to change the world. At least not via me. I couldn’t sing, for Pete’s sake. Why hadn’t anyone told me? I couldn’t play guitar. (Actually several people had told me this, but I  assumed they just hadn’t heard me at my most soulful.) I had bullied my friend into supporting a naive and humiliating venture in futility. Worse, people had witnessed it. People I didn’t know.

It would be years—decades—before I began to comprehend the hopeless mess we humans are, the mess we’ve made of the world, and the nastiness we inflict on each other. Nothing we could generate from inside our grimy broken selves, no matter how pretty and sincere, could change ugliness and evil. We require something—SomeOne—outside of us.
Once we realize that, we needn’t feel frustration about our inability to change the entire world. We can, however, change the parts of it in which we live and move and have our being.

We work at being good friends, like Nan.
We do our best, like my Calvinette leaders, to guide silly, giggling pre-pubescent girls with love and grace.
We enjoy beauty and truth, because by God’s common and uncommon grace, it is everywhere.

God made the music of the spheres to begin with, He keeps the song going in spite of raspy voices and broken strings, and He’ll make the song new and perfect someday. He just requires that we hum along faithfully in our own spheres, whatever their size and scope.

As for my preteen self? Did I wallow in self-pity? Of course. For at least 36 hours. But there was more Simon and Garfunkel to enjoy, some Montego Bay and Mungo Jerry, and a glorious first crush on David Cassidy. Changing the world could wait. My pillow transformed into Keith Partridge each night and I covered him with chaste, closed-mouth kisses. I was becoming typical. My parents breathed a sigh of relief.

Late that year, I misplaced my little yellow transistor radio. Then I ran out of requisite-size battery. Finally, my father remembered to buy a pack of 9 volts and my little radio was ready to rumble. Maybe, I hoped, maybe ‘I Think I Love You’ will be the first song I hear. I tuned to WCFL, locked my bedroom door and turned up the volume.

For the first time, singing only for me, Neil Diamond’s ‘He Ain’t Heavy…He’s My Brother’ crooned its way through my little transistor and into my heart.

The next day I dusted off my old string of love beads and wrote a fan letter to the Peace Corps.

Bless the Bandaid Solutions

SONY DSCLuxury items for those of us growing up in the 1960’s are today considered basic human rights. Cameras weren’t all pricey, but film and flash bulbs could be.
Languishing in drawers of many 60’s and 70’s households were rolls and rolls of undeveloped film, waiting till the photographer garnered enough cash to bring them to the Fotomat.
Long distance calling and pay phones meant keeping one eye on the second hand of the clock and the other on a pitiful pile of disposable income.
Today your average tween can call practically anywhere in the world as long as they stay within their parents’ minutes plan.
And they have 10 thousand photos on their phones and twice that many on their facebook pages.
You know what else your average unemployed anybody has access to?
Bandaids.

Those pinkish strips of adhesive were the crucible of wealth when I was a child. Could my friend afford a bandage on a minor scrape or bump? They must be rich.
I, on the other hand, child of a genteelly impoverished private school teacher, was always told I didn’t need a bandaid.
They were expensive.
They wouldn’t make the injury better anyway.
It just needed to be cleaned well.
This meant sanitizing it with whatever in the medicine cabinet was labelled ‘Causes Unbearable Stinging Sensation.’
Then we engaged in something called ‘letting the air at it.’

But I wanted a bandage. I wanted my dad to attain sudden wealth so we could have unlimited access to Bandaids.
Not because putting a strip of padded rubbery stuff on a scratch was a status symbol.
I was too young to care.
No.
That bandage felt like a small hug.
It relieved some pain, no matter how my thrifty, cash-strapped parents scoffed at the notion.
The wound felt safe and protected.

Bandaid solutions to major problems in the 21st century, issues ranging from obesity in overdeveloped countries to famine in third-world nations, are scoffed at.
They don’t fix the problem, we hear.
They just cover it up.
A bandaid fix serves no purpose but to ignore the festering problem.

But maybe bandaids, used with common sense, do serve a purpose when dealing with these and other issues of enormity.

Some of us feel smug when we recycle our plastic bottles.
We are saving the environment!
But we really have no idea what other resources are being used to recycle that plastic, or how much if it is ending up in landfills anyway.
Our pretty recycling bandage might hide a spreading mess that we can’t cover with an entire pharmacy of wraps and bindings.

How about the old momism that is so derided?
‘Eat your vegetables. There are starving children in the world.”
And us smart aleck offspring respond, “Fine. Let’s send my creamed asparagus to them.”

This bandage not only doesn’t solve world hunger, people say.
It creates another issue—obesity—among the ‘clean plate club.’
Maybe, though, Mom was on to something.
That bandaid was decorated with little truths:
Be grateful for what you have.
You don’t deserve it so don’t waste it as if you do.
When we appreciate the wonderful gift food is, could we resist the temptation to gorge ourselves?
Could the reproachful eyes of that starving child swim up before us, reminding us that wasting, either by tossing or overindulging, is akin to stealing?

Maybe that same appreciation of physical blessings will open our eyes to blatant consumerism. We’ll focus not so much on recycling as doing what our ancestors did:
making do with what we’ve got.
Reusing and repurposing and being thrifty and not buying what we don’t need will help clean up the messy ulcerated miasma of rubbish, with a little help from the protective bandage of recycling.

Do you throw coins in a homeless person’s cup because you saw some youtube video where everyone walked past disguised family members without recognizing them?
You might be doing worse than putting on a bandaid.
You might be pouring acid on their wound.
Some of my friends, however, started with that ‘toss in a dollar’ quick-fix mentality, but didn’t stay there.
They began living and moving among the homeless, seeing them as fellow travelers instead of causes.
They aren’t eradicating the problem of homelessness or mental illness or addiction.
They know they aren’t God.
But after the feel-good bandage came off they realized we are all messed up.
We aren’t put here to fix everyone.
We are to treat everyone with dignity and wisdom and love.
I am a zealous defender of Bandaid Solutions but that doesn’t mean we should rely on them solely.
They can make us feel good and secure for awhile, but put one on an area of the body we don’t see much, like the calf or the back of the arm, and it can languish, forgotten, while the dog bite or stab wound it covers becomes infected.
Twittering ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ made a whole host of people feel like they were doing something noble when Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped.
They were changing the world, one tweet at a time.
But we’ve sort of forgotten those girls.
No one recently has posted ‘Bring back our girls. Or else.’
The kidnappers pay no attention to what we over here twitter during our extensive free time.
They are too busy strapping explosives on the girls to use as unwilling suicide bombers, lambs driven to slaughter of themselves and other unwilling victims.
We either get bored of a good cause too quickly, or realize the powerlessness, even of a million tweets, to change the minds of fanatics.
That twitter bandage, though, might raise some awareness of girls being misused in our own neighborhoods.
It might make us see how children are manipulated by the media or advertising or individuals or organizations to achieve goals that have nothing to do with the welfare of that child.
They are only the sacrificial lambs to further the agenda of whoever is using them.
Maybe we’ll protest not only with clever little signs but with our actions and our checkbooks.

Protesting war—any war—seldom accomplishes anything.
Governments don’t care if you disrupt traffic while carrying placards.
Especially governments who don’t like your country to begin with.
But if, while you engage in the futile effort against violence, someone rudely rams into you, you might think twice before bringing your ‘PEACE AT ALL COSTS’ sign down on the offender’s noggin.

Here’s the thing about bandaids.
They don’t stop further hurts and wounds.
They don’t make present damage disappear immediately.
But that protection, that relief from pain, albeit temporary, can have some surprising results.
We want to do whatever minor fixes we can to help relieve the hurts of others.
It helps us remember that temporary remedies are great, as long as the underlying injury can be dealt with.
And those monumental wounds, the ones no amount of adhesive and germ killer can cover,
force us to our knees before the only One who really brings temporal and eternal healing.

POKENON

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Mr. Walter Hunt would not approve. His once serviceable safety pin today is about as useless as a privacy setting on Facebook.

Wait just a minute! you say. What is the Tuesday Prude doing talking about sewing notions? Doesn’t the Prude only hold opinions on all things moral and ethical? And lapses in etiquette and grammar?

No. That is a fallacy. Prude disapproval goes far beyond the moral and civil code. We can find situations everywhere that need to be addressed and one of them is Shoddy Workmanship.

You may not be familiar with the aforementioned Mr.Walter Hunt, poverty-stricken inventor. He needed to make enough money to pay off a $15 debt. But what to invent? Inspiration was born of pain. Straight pins—the bane of the 19th century—poked holes in the epidermis of the general populace and Walter wanted to help. So he invented the safety pin.
Though history doesn’t tell us whether altruism or fear of a shake down by the local loan shark motivated Walter, he came up with a non-poking pin and made enough with his wire creation to pay his obligations.

Back then pins were made of materials with names like BRASS and STEEL. The safety pin Walter created from a piece of twisted wire was sturdy enough to convince some entrepreneur to purchase the patent.

For over a century safety pins continued to poke proudly. One could find safety pins holding up ripped hems, securing notes to kindergarteners’ backs, replacing popped buttons on trousers, removing splinters from fingers and functioning as fish hooks. Many women fondly remember when safety pins were sturdy enough to re-connect women’s foundation garments after a crucial strap snapped.

Back to Walter: if he’d tried to impress anyone with the 21st century piece of flimsiness pictured above (for which the Tuesday Prude paid good money),  his creditors would have broken his kneecaps and fitted him for cement shoes.

Te Tuesday Prude’s safety pin is not sturdy enough to pin a spider web to a snowflake. Instead of steel, it appears to be constructed of dental floss coated with spray paint.
If punk rock trendsetters had tried to shove one of these namby-pamby pins through their ears or noses or navels, an entire body piercing cottage industry would have folded before it had a chance to catch on.

Balloons don’t cower in fear from this pin. They dare each other to do belly flops on it’s stubby little point. The most wimpy of balloons laughs this pin to scorn.

Maybe somewhere a safety pin is doing its job and doing it well: keeping a starlet from a wardrobe malfunction, holding a baby’s diaper securely in place, or acting as a homemade compass in a 3rd grade science class.

But not this safety pin.

And maybe somewhere, Mr. Hunt looks down at this insipid descendent of his great invention and expresses gratitude that he didn’t name it the Walter pin.

The Tuesday Prude is WHERE?

If you are in the mood for the politically correct versions of titles, or what happens when authors forgo a thesaurus when titling a book, head over to The Barn Door. The Tuesday Prude is hanging out there today with a little something we like to call ‘Little Women? or Small Ladies?

http://www.thebarndoor.net/2013/09/little-women-or-small-ladies.html#comment-form

 

Hannah Montana and the Inner Prude

Sometimes, just as The Tuesday Prude is about to go to publication, we need to hold the presses.
Today, Heavy Artillery Tuesday, we were prepared to introduce the most aggressive weapon in the Prude Means of Offense.
The Finger Point.
A disturbing new story, however, needs to be told, and only The Tuesday Prude has it.

During our extensive web-based research on ‘The Finger Point’, we noticed repeated references to Miley Cyrus and a pointing finger. For those of you unfamiliar with Miss Cyrus, she was, as Hannah Montana, the 21st century version of Shirley Temple. A sweet, innocent bundle of singing and dancing and acting. Was it possible, we wondered, hoping against hope, that the grown up Miss Cyrus has embraced her prudish beginnings and taken up her Finger Point?

Well. No.

We followed the internet trail to a video of Miss Cyrus performing at a music awards show. Within seconds our alarm bells began a’jingling. Perky little Hannah Montana was nowhere in sight. Of course, even Shirley Temple grew up into more mature roles (remember ‘The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer’?) We noted that, while still a very pretty young lady, the former child actress is applying her makeup with a heavy hand these days. Her hairdo included two tight pigtails atop her head and she was dressed in a one-piece swimsuit, which, while not customary award show attire, nonetheless appeared modest by current standards.

And here is our breaking news:
Although not confirmed by major media, we have cause to believe that before she went onstage, poor Miley came in contact with an infectious agent. Any alert viewer could pick up the signs. By the time she entered, greeted by a bevy of bloated bears, her tongue had begun to swell. Poor child. It rolled from her mouth on a regular basis.
The next symptom-increased irritability, manifested itself when she applied old-fashioned corporal punishment to several of the dancing bears.

The infection spread quickly. She broke out into a sweat and (people often act out of the norm when in the grip of fever) stripped down to her skivvies. She jolted about the stage. She writhed in agony, trying to scratch wherever she itched. And that child itched EVERYWHERE.  As she lost control of motor skills, she flopped forward from the waist. When a male candy striper came to help, the former Miss Montana, overcome by hives, used him as a scratching post.

At some point in her flailing she located a giant hand and The Tuesday Prude realized, to our disappointment, that it wasn’t the Pointing Finger of Correction.
This resembles more of the ‘We’re #1’ sort of digit brought to sporting events but instead of putting it to cheerleading use, she tried to relieve the all-pervasive prickly heat.

No, Miley Cyrus hasn’t mastered the prudish Finger Point and she may not yet have embraced her inner prude. But hope springs eternal.
Next week we resume our regularly scheduled posting to give you instructions and pointers on how and when to safely wield the Finger Point.

Until then, we wonder if any of you would like to chip in on a get-well bouquet to the young lady?

Birthday Suit? Or Civil Suit?

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Prude-approved Birthday Suit

Here’s a prude pop quiz:

What does the Tuesday Prude consider civilization’s chief threat?
A. The creeping view of clothing as obsolete
B. Escalating use of really, really bad words
C. Decreasing moral standards for behavior
D. All of the above but with one prevailing concern.

Oh, that all quizzes were so obvious!  Of course the answer is
D.
You might ask: what could concern a prude more than the looming possibility of runway models wearing little more than a blingy belt between their pouts and their platform shoes?

While A,B and C, and of course the Birthday Suit trend in fashion all give prudes the shivers, we’re noticing a deeper, more fundamental crack in the bedrock of civilization.
Civility is disappearing.
Civility is becoming as rare, as difficult to find as prudes. So little civility to be found on television, in politics, religion, the workplace, the classroom, in families, among friends and amidst strangers.
So much incivility rushing to fill the void.

Sometimes incivility is disguised with wit or sarcasm, or excused because of strongly held beliefs and passions.
Boorish, discourteous behavior is almost expected in certain realms such as the editorial page and Washington DC, but now it has gurgled up, slobbered out, and mucked over everything else. Incivility is ubiquitous.

The Tuesday Prude would like to carve out a little section of the world that, at its core, is cordial.

Most prudes hold strongly to particular beliefs on religion, politics, education, society, language, nutrition and global stewardship. But this is not the venue to share them all.

We prefer not to mock, deride, satirize or condemn those whose views don’t match ours.
Not that we believe all opinions and ideas have equal validity.
Not because we don’t believe in absolutes.

But because this blog aspires to be one hundred percent courteous, one hundred percent of the time.

You don’t need to agree with everything the Tuesday Prude propounds. But we hope you share our desire for a more civil world.

NEXT WEEK: A PEEK AT A PRUDE’S ARSENAL