Tag Archives: Neighbors

Earth Day / Science / Judy

Earth Day.  The Science March (which I sadly can’t attend until Science gets around to curing my damn Crohn’s Disease).  My late sister Judy’s birthday.  So I’m reposting this.  Hey – Jude believed firmly in recycling!

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She’s been gone now for 17 years, Jude.  Not a day has gone by since that I haven’t wanted to talk with her, laugh with her, or, alternatively because she was my sister, smack her.  There really isn’t a relationship like you have with a sister.  Even long after they are gone.

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Today, April 22, is Earth Day!  It’s the Anniversary of the very first Earth Day.  Here  is Walter Cronkite’s report on the first Earth Day, 1970:

It would also be my late sister Judy’s 65th birthday.

Whoever made the decision to turn Judy’s birthday into Earth Day chose wisely.  Judy was a born environmentalist and recycler.

On the first Earth Day, Judy was a new, very young mother who believed in saving the planet.  She was the first “environmentalist” I ever knew personally, and well, I thought she was nuts.  There was a recycling bin in her kitchen for as long as I can remember.  And this was back when recycling took effort.  She believed in gardens, not garbage, and she made life bloom wherever she was.

I’ve got kids,” she’d say.  “It’s their planet too!”  

But years later, Judy took recycling to a whole different level when she helped people recycle themselves.  In the 1990s, Jude, who was then living in Florida, began working with the Homeless, assisting at shelters.   Then she actively began trying to help homeless vets food, shelter and work — to enable them to jump-start their lives.

When she died in early 2000, the American Legion awarded her honorary membership for her services to homeless vets.  A homeless shelter was named in her  honor.  So she’s still doing good works, my sister is.  That would make her wildly happy.

Jude also gave me the Beatles.  So it is very appropriate that they wrote a song for her.

You see, the night the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan, it was MY turn to choose what we were going to watch.  And we were going to watch the second part of The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh starring Patrick McGoohan on the Wonderful Wide World of Disney.  My four (all older and MUCH cooler) siblings were furious with me.  But I was quite insistent.  You might even say that I threw a Class I temper tantrum over it, but I wouldn’t admit to that.  Hey, I was seven.  And it was my turn to choose.  Fair is fair, especially in a big family with only one TV.

Somehow, Judy talked me out of my turn.  She was always very persuasive.  Thanks Jude.

Hey Jude, Happy Earth Day-Birthday.

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Let’s Go To Town!.

Tired of calling your senators and congressman/woman?  Maybe what you need to do instead is go to town.  Town Halls, that is.

Yup.  Here’s another way to raise some hell.

The Town Hall Project 2018 is a website that posts public forums for senators and members of congress.  Meetings where you can go and listen to and talk with the people who claim to represent you.

If you have questions, problems concerns with what is happening in our government, in our world, go to town.

If you think that keeping Obamacare is important to you, go to town.

If you think that maintaining Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as you’ve expected them to be when it was time for you to collect on what you’ve paid out for decades, go to town.

If you think that protecting the environment is important to you, go to town.

If you think that Trump’s Executive Order banning Muslims should be revoked, go to town.

If you have other opinions that I haven’t listed and that you feel your representatives in Congress need to hear about, go to town.  And bring friends.  Bring lots and lots of friends.

The Town Hall Project 2018 has promised to update its website regularly.  So bookmark it, and show up.

American Democracy is no longer a spectator sport.  Get it in gear.

 

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You Can Shake On It!

It was a month ago, and I can still feel Tracy’s hand against mine. Actually I can still feel her limp fingers brushing up against the tips of mine in the creepiest handshake ever. Ewwwww.

*     *     *

I didn’t do it to be a jerk, although I absolutely was. I just thought it was funny.

You see, I had a neighbor when I was growing up who gave me the secret to success.  Repeatedly.  Captain Leavitt would explain to me, again and again, the proper way to shake hands.

“Leasie!” he’d say. “You gotta understand this!  It’s the key to success. You’ve got to know how to shake hands properly if you want to make something of yourself.”

Captain Levitt * actually knew what he was talking about. Because he had gone from being a poor kid in Brooklyn – a high school dropout – into the owner of a posh string of shops (Custom Shop Shirtmakers) that sold, well, custom made shirts. By the time I knew him in the 1960s and early 70s, he was a millionaire several times over. He lived in New York City, but he had a weekend house down the road from mine.

He never failed to stop when he saw me to teach me the secret of success.

And I never failed to do it wrong, each and every time.

“Leasie!” he’d say, in his thick Brooklyn accent. “No, no, no!  You’re not doing it right!”

Google Image. What a smile he had!

Google Image.
What a smile he had!

He must have thought I was a moron. I’m sure he recalled the 4,396 times he’d already taught me just how to shake hands.

“You need to pay attention, Leasie!” he’d say, reaching his hand out to shake mine.

Of course I’d do it wrong.  Just so he could show me again.

“Now reach your whole hand towards mine – put the webbed part between your thumb and pointer right up against the webbed bit of mine. Wrap your fingers around mine and grasp it firmly – firmly but not too hard. Then shake it twice — three times is OK. Four times? That’s too many.”

Each time, I was a good student. By the time he walked or drove away, I was shaking his hand properly.

The next time? I’d screw it up again, just so he’d teach me again. I’m pretty sure that he thought I would likely need a lot more than a firm handshake to become successful. But Captain Levitt did what he could for me.

*     *     *

Now back to Tracy.

John and I are looking to replace my car, so I went into a car dealer one Sunday afternoon, sans husband. It’ll be my car, so I want to figure out what car I like before John insists I buy something else. So there I was, by myself in the car dealer. s

As I sat in a car that was conveniently $10K over budget, a voice came from nowhere.

“hello” it whispered.

A woman’s voice. It seemed to have no body attached to it. When I eventually saw the body that went with the disembodied voice, I quickly figured out the problem. She was hiding in my blind spot.

“I’m Elyse,” I said, reaching out to shake her hand.

“I’m Tracy,” she said in a whiny, barely audible voice.  And she grabbed the very bottoms of my fingers in her cold hand and massaged them.  Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Tracy tapped into my inner Captain Levitt. I forgot about the car, and could think of nothing except how to pass on Captain Levitt’s lesson to Tracy.  After a good handwashing, that is.

But that’s harder to give words of wisdom than you’d think, you know. Tracy is an adult! And you can’t just go around teaching adults things, you know. They don’t appreciate it.

Besides, I didn’t like Tracy. At all. The fact that she had previously been a disembodied voice AND that she shook hands like a limp lobster was only part of it. She was really creepy, like that person in the horror movie who nobody notices until she picks up the axe.

More importantly, she wasn’t helpful at all.

What on earth was she doing selling cars? It was like the car dealership version of a reality show where the contestants are assessed for the job they would be worst at. And somehow, I was written into the pilot.

Tracy couldn’t answer any of my questions about the car. She didn’t care about cars, in fact. I’m not even sure if she had driven one ever before. She explained to me that she was really a fashion designer.

“Well, you’ll look great when you get on Top Gear!” I said to her, the only nice fashion/car thing I could think to say.

“What’s Top Gear?” she asked.

Sigh.

So Tracy came with me on the test drive of one car she didn’t know the first thing about.

While she went to get the keys to a second car I wanted to drive, I decided. I had to do it.  Yes, I steeled myself to teach Tracy how to shake hands properly. I was pretty sure that some day, her next meal might just depend on it.  The entire future of this pathetic woman might actually depend on ME.  I couldn’t stand the pressure.

Because as Captain Levitt told me many, many times, “The key to success is in a good, firm handshake.”

I waited for Tracy to come back, trying to figure out just how to break the news to her. That her wimpy handshake was a problem in sales. In other jobs.  Hell, a shitty handshake was a problem in life itself.

So I decided to tell her about Captain Levitt, the rags to riches story of a very successful man.  And to teach her what he had taught me so many times before.

In fact, in the 30 minutes I waited for her to bring the keys to the second car I wanted to drive, I had it all figured out.

At least I did until Tracy blew me off in favor of another customer.  Yup.  The bitch walked by me with a young couple who wanted to test drive the car I was looking at. She looked up at me and waved as she got into the back of the car. WITH THEM.

So Tracy will never learn that the key to success is in a good firm handshake.

Oh, and not being an asshole. That’s on the top ten keys to success, too.

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Being an asshole, Childhood Traumas, Growing up, keys to success, Shake, Wimpy handshakes