Saturday, January 11, 2014

5 Disturbing Things I Found on the Internet This Week

There’s a terrible rainstorm outside and I was going to write a poem about the rain and my heart and the rain in my heart and the rainstorms in my life, but instead of indulging in horrendous clichéd poetry, I will instead talk about disturbing things I found on the internet this week:

    ONE: Jeffery Taylor’s article “15 Ways Atheists Can Stand up For Rationality”. I don’t have any beef with atheists, even the self-righteous, ranty sort. (I’m not an atheist myself, but I’m sympathetic to their cause.) The article makes some good points, but the first thing on his list really disturbed me, where he suggests that when you’re a dinner guest, it’s your moral responsibility as an atheist to refuse to join in grace before a meal. Frankly, I think that’s a total jerk move. If you’re a guest breaking bread in the presence of your hosts, you show respect by following the host’s traditions. If your hosts traditions are so offensive to you that you can’t partake in them, then you shouldn’t be availing yourself of their hospitality. And while we’re on the topic, can atheists just stop being such blowhardy twits now? It’s getting boring.

TWO: I found out there is a teahouse in China that you can only get to by risking your life by climbing Mt. Hua Shan. It was both intriguing and deeply disturbing to me. I get upsetting thoughts sometimes, for example, when standing on a bridge, I worry that I will suddenly lose control and throw myself off of it. Or that I will stab myself in the neck with my ball point pen, or impulsively drink the household bleach while cleaning. I never do these things. I’m in no danger whatsoever of doing these things. I just have weird thoughts at times that I might. I had the same feeling when looking at the photos of Hua Shan: “What if decide to book a flight to China and go to the Teahouse?”

THREE: Buzzfeed’s article, “The 18 Most Offensive Things People Say to Redheads”. I’ve heard most of them. I also get knowing, waggley-eyed looks from creepy men who have been indoctrinated into the “redheads have uncontrollable libidos” myth. And the “you must have a terrible temper” thing goes pretty deep with me. I heard that a lot as kid, and I was so desperate not appear bad-tempered, I never asserted myself in even the most minimal way. I’ve always been pretty ambivalent about being a redhead, because it calls unwanted attention to myself and makes it hard to blend in. It would be a much better fit if I had a naturally flamboyant personality, but I don’t. I have a naturally “want to lock myself in my room and be alone with my thoughts” personality. But I’ve learned to cope. And as to why I don’t just dye it? It won’t dye. When I managed a spa, they took samples. It doesn’t dye or bleach. It wouldn’t take any color. They even left bleach on of the samples for four days once and all it did was fade a little bit to a peachy-orange. I always thought that I should have been born with dark eyes and black hair. If I could pick, I’d want long, dark locks like my girl crush Penelope Cruz.

     FOUR:Twenty Common Grammar Mistakes That Almost Everyone Makes” was sent to me by my friend Sheila. *Waves*. It was deeply wounding to my writerly pride, as I make most of those errors, and many more, on a regular basis. Most people are somehow under the impression that I was an English major, but I wasn't. While I respect grammar deeply, I just don’t have the wherewithal to be a full-on grammar nerd. (It’s boring.) I’m only interested in grammar as a tool to ensure that I don’t look stupid and uneducated. But I can’t bring myself to spend hours pouring over arcane rules and gleefully pointing out other’s errors, as some grammar nerds are wont to do. I have thought about taking a few basic grammar and English classes just to beef up my knowledge and not get caught making dumb mistakes by other writers I respect.

FIVE: In times of need, I comfort myself by looking at photos of abandon mental institutions. Here are some fun ones!

--Kristen McHenry