First off, I may be ranting in a couple of spots in this post, so please accept my apologies in advance. Okay, as I’ve mentioned at least a couple of times on here, I don’t get into watching awards shows very much. Oh, sure, I may sample some of the pre-show red carpet coverage. And I’ll catch a moment or two of the ceremony as I’m surfing through the channels. And I’ll certainly read up and/or watch some of the highlights the next morning. But watching 3+ hours of one award after another and performance after another can feel like a tedious slog. On top of that, there’s the fact that most awards shows occur on a Sunday night, when I tend to turn in early so that my body and mind (the latter especially) can rest up for the week to come. (Notice I’m leaving out politics; a certain segment of the populace will sneer at whatever statement of social/cultural import a host, winner, or presenter may say, but I’ll never dissuade them from saying it, especially these days.)
An anecdote to lead off: Back in October, I joined fellow members of a trans support group at the OutReach Awards Banquet. One of our cis-gender allies joined us, and at first, she wasn’t sure exactly which table was which, but she checked her table number on her name tag and, by coincidence, sat right next to me. Ours was Table 44. “Good,” she chuckled, “because I like ’44’ better than ’45.'”
Note the quote marks around “44” and “45” in that last sentence, for our friend wasn’t joking about the tables on that night. No, hers was a remark about the era in which we’re stuck in right now. One year ago this weekend, You Know Who formally and officially became the 45th You Know What. In the 52 weeks since then, it’s felt as if we’ve collectively turned around an endless line of dark corners, each bend darker than the one before it. There are far too many of those dark corners to be specific about here, though I should note the latest… er, one of the latest of dark corners from this week concerned an “overhaul” of the Department of Health & Human Services’ Civil Rights Office. The proposal would add a division that protects those in the medical profession who desire to “profess their religious expressions,” up to and including their objections to providing services or caring for people they have religious objections to, including abortions or treatment to trans patients.
The other day, I heard a great quote uttered during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration here in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the speaker or the full quote. However, I do recall it being a “show me this and I’ll show you that” kind of quote, one where two people see the same thing but see it very different… like, say, one person seeing the glass as half-empty and the other seeing it as half-full.
The “show me… and I’ll show you…” portion of that quote stuck with me the rest of the holiday, and it inspired me to write… and rewrite… and rewrite (as I usually do) the following poem. As you’ll read (and especially notice in the last stanza), I’m not afraid to call out someone who is dismissive of those who do not live the same “pure” life they profess to live. What’s for sure, the holier-than-thou set aren’t saints themselves, no matter how much they proselytize with their “holy book” of choice.
Show me fields that have long been fallow
Overgrown with unsightly weeds
I’ll show you land that can spring to life
With someone’s ideas and dreams
Show me an artist’s canvas or a poet’s notebook
That are still blank and untouched
I’ll show you space that can be
The ground spring of a masterpiece
Show me someone immature and unruly
And I’ll show you a bright mind
That, if molded the right way
Will grow the fruits of their full potential
Show me someone not following the rules
And I’ll show you someone living free
Show me someone who doesn’t respect others
And I’ll show you someone who lets others be
Show me who should stay in a gilded cage
That with iron and lock and key you construct
And I’ll show you someone yearning to soar
To heights that will leave you awestruck
Show me someone who you prefer to stay quiet
And I’ll show you a person ready to roar
I’ll also show you someone ready to rebuild
If you only see someone you have no hope for
Show me someone who’s immoral
And I’ll show you someone on the straight and narrow
Show me someone that should conform
And I’ll show you someone who’s blazing their own trail
Show me someone whose existence you deny
And I’ll show you someone who needs to thrive
Even though caring for them is what you’re sworn to do
Would your “conscience” be quick to shun them…
And not care for them…
And seal their doom…
Just because they’re not like you?
Show me someone who’s only a gender
Or a skin color
Or a religion
Or an age
Or a behavior
Or “less” than you
And I’ll show you someone more than a label
For they’re much more than your closed mind
Forbids your open eyes to see
You think you see the scourges of the earth
But I see someone who can clear those fields
And plow those lands
And construct those buildings
And write those sonnets
And paint those masterpieces
And mold those minds
And help build a future
That will benefit the whole world
Show me all that you claim is ugly
And I’ll show you a mirror
So that you can look into it
And see true ugliness
Staring right back at you
Just thought I’d dedicate this post to some random holiday-related thoughts on this, 7 days after the American Thanksgiving Day. First, a very-late question for my fellow Americans: How was your Thanksgiving Day? Mine was spent with my immediate family (mother, stepfather, sisters, their families) at Mom’s place. Or to describe it more precisely, the combination lounge/kitchen on the first floor of Mom’s senior apartment building. Since our extended family is too big for Mom’s modestly-sized apartment, Mom reserved the lounge for our Thanksgiving shindig. On the good side, the lounge is pretty spacious and was perfect for our big family. However, the newness of the first all-family Thanksgiving at Mom’s apartment building didn’t give the day that “at home” feeling I always felt whenever Mom at her old house or Sis at hers hosted whatever holiday shindig we would have.
I know I’m asking this is a few days late, but how was your Halloween? I imagine many of you, as I did, celebrated Halloween the previous Saturday since the actual Halloween landed during the week. My actual Halloween Tuesday was spent doing the adult thing: Working for a living during the morning, volunteering during the afternoon, and doing all of it in the costume I wear on an everyday basis, that of a responsible adult male.
If you’re a frequent reader of this blog and are reading this post on Friday, October 13, you may notice something is missing on here today. Don’t know what it is? Well, if you’re reading this on your computer (uh… you are reading this on your computer, aren’t you?), take a look at the sidebar to your right. Yeah, there’s something missing, isn’t there? Well the first thing I did on this site this morning was remove the Twitter widget.
Now, you’re wondering if I’ve left Twitter’s 140-character universe behind entirely. No, just today, and this is the reason why:
Today is Labor Day, traditionally known here in the United States as a day to recognize the labor force… and, yeah, to have one last day of summer before autumn settles in. Now, if you’re like most people, you probably have this Labor Day off from work. I did as well, and to celebrate, I went to work. No, not to sit in my cubicle and pound out the work I do when it’s a Monday that’s not a holiday. Rather, I worked out in the fitness center at our place of employment, one of the perks provided to anyone who works there. Well, let me clarify that: It’s open to anyone employed at the companies in that building (we have more than one business in our building).
I’ll start this post with a little bit of levity: If you’re from Canada, you’re probably familiar with a CBC Television show called This Hour Has 22 Minutes. For the uninitiated, 22 Minutes is best described analogous to Saturday Night Live and its Weekend Update segment, in that it spoofs Canadian current events and TV news through its delivery of jokes, sketches, satirical commentaries, and man-on-the-street segments, regularly doing so in devastatingly funny and pointed fashion.
When I spent a week vacationing in Canada many years ago, I came across a 22 Minutes episode that included a recurring segment called “Canada in the Morning.” As you can guess by its title, it was a parody of the breezy TV news/chat shows one turns on (for the sake of white noise?) while getting ready to go to work. “Canada in the Morning” featured the fictitious duo of “Finnigan O’Toole” and “Lisa Thomas,” played respectively by Gavin Crawford and Cathy Jones, who in interview segments had a tendency to stray very far from the chief topic at hand.