A Home Remedy For the Grammer Police



NSFW. Contains language about language.

*Yes, I know how to spell ‘grammar,’ but that’s the point.


The world is a small place sometimes. It’s hard to gauge where my ideas might reach. In places where people don’t know me, my ideas seem plausible. In others, people point to what I’ve written as a short-hand to get their point across. They write, “This,” with a link, or “This reminds me of you.” To be fair, many people also tell me I’m a moron, but with a lesser frequency that I would have otherwise expected to be the case.

When I write about people having the freedom to take back their own languages and use and abuse them as they see fit, most of the response is overwhelmingly positive. There is indeed a time and place for exacting language – and that time and place is normally one which doesn’t require our presence, much less enthusiasm, for it. The responsibility for language’s needless complexity does not fall upon the average user.

On one of my alter-ego projects, someone wrote me. She was irritated at a few of her well-meaning and passive-aggressive friends and family, some of whom apparently rejoice in being grammar police. She told me that several of her friends and family were afraid to post anything and sometimes say anything, anticipating the overzealous criticism. She had tried ignoring them, politely asking them to stop and finally, in a last-ditch effort, she started lashing out at them. She saw some of my craziness on someone’s blog and decided to offer me a chance to weigh in.

My appeals to tell those who think English is a fixed target should go jump in a frozen lake struck a chord with her. She said she had never thought of Standard English as a formal and shared means to learn a dialect that no one learned at home – or that spoken language drives the language no matter how many cries of anguish we hear from those invested in “correct English.”

“I need a way to get my point across, even with a sledgehammer, if necessary. What do you recommend?” she wrote.

“Well, if you’re all adults, I recommend avoiding behavior which invites more contempt. They’re not going to change, that much is obvious. It’s not a ‘you’ issue, not really. They need to gain esteem by policing other people. You can’t fix them, so you need to focus their attention away from you.” So far, so good, as I wrote back.

“First, it’s important that you politely tell each person who has been a pain in your rear to please stop and that further trolling is unwelcome. Then, each time one of your friends, family, or acquaintances pulls their grammar nonsense, send them this,” I wrote:

<To the grammar police: You put the ‘dick’ in ‘dicktionary.’ Regards, Don’t Care >


I told her to write it every time someone pulled out their bag of tactics on her – after they ignored one more final polite request to please stop. If they responded with anger, write the same thing, over and over. If they tried to police her in person, I told her to say it out loud, even in awkward social situations. I pointed out that her social faux pas was no greater than theirs, that of policing other adults in trivial matters.

“If that doesn’t work, let me know.” I wished her well and told her to follow through every time her hackles went up. I reminded her that it was senseless for her to get upset and to instead transfer that irritation back those being jerks. I warned that it would take time. She told me that a few of her friends and family had been torturing her for years and that a few weeks of concerted effort would be better than living the rest of her life under the thumb of a bunch of control freaks.

Several days later, she wrote me and told me that at first it really bothered her to be discourteous. After a few times, though, she got invested in the reaction. She had one last hold-out, though, a family member who tended to lash out about any topic, whether it be politics, religion, grammar, or how to fold towels in the guest bathroom.

I asked her to send me the name of the family member so that I could get a picture from their social media. After she did so, I told her to check her email and follow the instructions and to only follow them if the person torturing her didn’t heed one last polite request to please stop bothering her.

Over a week later, she wrote back, to tell me that it had worked beyond belief.

Her family member had become irate and sent an email and social media messenger blast to all their mutual friends and family, accusing her of lashing out without reason. Her family member didn’t stop to realize that it provided the victim with a list of everyone affected. She wrote back to all of them, asking them to let her know if they were interested in knowing the real story. Most did and after reading her explanation were completely on board. Almost all agreed that it would be better for everyone to ignore what they perceived as errors – and to certainly not condone those who continued to be jerks after politely being asked to step away or to bother someone else who had no objection.

The picture attached to this post is what she emailed, after begging and politely requesting relief at least a dozen times…




P.S. It’s important that anyone reading this understand that at each stage I insist that the first course of action is to respond with politeness and courtesy, even if the person making your life a living hades is beyond redemption.

P.P.S. I didn’t invent the word ‘dicktionary.’



Choward’s Violet Delights




For those who want to dip their toes in the Tide Pod culinary waters, Choward’s Violet Mints are for you.

Most people agree that they have a strange soap flavor. It’s hard to believe that everyone isn’t clamoring for more violet-flavored candies in their diets. If ice cream were violet-flavored, most children would stop begging for it as the ice cream truck drives by. And probably hurl themselves under the nearest bed, just to be sure.

I ordered mine from Amazon, 3 packs of alien candies.

Strangely, I couldn’t resist sniffing the package, much like a German Shepherd trained to detect drugs at an airport.

I’m confident that most people would be repulsed by these, just like they might be if they bite into a boiled egg only to find that it has been filled with grape jelly and iguana blood.

These candies were once popular.

I speculate that they might be part of the reason that people once died so young.

I’m glad I tried them, though. I keep impulsively eating them, much like the compulsion to pick at a scab as it hardens.

I can’t decide if I actually like them, or if they somehow fulfill an unstated desire to punish myself for some unidentified crime.

I’m going to eat all 3 packs of mine, though. My breath will smell better than a fresh load of laundry, too.

The McDonald’s Flambé Life


I was asked to write an unsolicited rebuttal of something frequently witnessed on social media. These words and thoughts aren’t perfect, nor do I intend them to be.

Each time I see someone complaining about social media being too bright and shiny or unrealistic, I try to visit those people’s social media page(s).

As you can guess, when I visit the social media of the person mentioned above, it is difficult to find any posts which reveal the soul or character of the person – and almost all of the pictures are polished Kodak moments, with $10,000 smiles filled with perfect teeth. Most are devoid of crafted personal stories or substantive glimpses into their days as human beings. There’s never a picture of them enjoying a delicious bite of questionable food over a dimly-lit sink, wearing mismatched cat socks, or an admission of honest tomfoolery or klutziness. You’ll find an album of 178 wedding day photos, but none of the family on the day the judge finalizes the divorce. Nor will there be a copy of the mugshot of the husband for his second DWI. People rarely discuss their honest doubts or openly share the beliefs they hold which trouble them. Tears are always joyful and never from injustice, defeat is a happy lesson, and houses always pristinely decorated and sleek. (Even though we know you have a room, closet, garage or attic filled with some erratic craziness that you don’t like people seeing.)



I don’t know how to say this artfully or with aplomb, so I’ll just say it: most of these refrains are from people with double-car garages and more than one kind of coffee machine in their homes.

Life is messy, with moments of breath-taking beauty and also days of anguish.



….more house shoes than Versace and more plain spaghetti than vermicelli.

Somewhere between the extremes, though, is the balance of the two in which you live your life and upon which most of your memory rests.

Social media is based on the most democratic of ideas: each of us can share, interact, and express ourselves within the boundaries of the parameters we ourselves define.


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Like so many other things, most of the flaws of social media are worsened by use, one comment, post, or picture at a time. We decide what kind of social media we want. I’m confused by complaints about social media when it is literally that person’s choice to reflect his or her preferences on their social media pages.

Social media isn’t a glossy magazine; it’s the flyer someone hands you on the sidewalk, one constantly adjusting to us. The difference is that all of us create its content.

If you don’t want to create or share, of course that is okay. Withhold your snark about the content other people choose to share or your opinion that it’s all shiny and unrealistic snapshots of other people.


If you seek a different way, light the way ahead and we will follow your lead.

I’m guessing that the posts complaining about the phoniness of social media will never abate, just as people will invariably watch “The Bachelor,” yet glibly tell you that they watched, and loved, the latest installment of “60 Minutes.”

An Imperfect Note Regarding Jimmy Fallon and Redemption


The meme regarding Jimmy Fallon in his “Man Show” era versus now in his redemption and entertainer role does contain an element of harsh truth to it.

It also contains an oblique admission on your part, though, if you share it.

Jimmy’s former show ended about 15 years ago. That’s approximately 5,500 days of opportunity to transform oneself.

“You’re not the person you used to be,” is one of the best compliments someone can give me.

I hope the same is true for you, too. It’s almost as important as the cliché, “My opinion changes with new information.”

It’s easy to fake a change of heart, especially if ambition, power, money, or politics shape your enlightenment. We fall toward vanity and greed with too much ease at times.

It’s a complicated and fluid process to gauge another person’s transformation and soul. Many religions confer redemption merely by accepting a central tenet of faith. Most adults, however, in their personal lives, require penance, punishment and a long learning period from those seeking redemption.

Skepticism rules in regards to other people, even as most people demand acceptance for their own stories and changes while doubting the changes that others profess.

By outright refusing to concede that it is possible that Jimmy Fallon may indeed be the person he professes to be, you are also indicating that you doubt that personal transformation is possible.

That’s a strange, cynical point of view from where I’m standing.

Keep in mind that I’m not a big Jimmy Fallon fan, nor defending the criticisms toward his previous alter ego.

A few years ago, Tom Cotton, someone who I dislike intensely, suffered a backlash from some regarding his writings when he was much younger and attending Harvard. Many screamed without knowing whether those words reflected who he is today. That denial of possibility is a problem for me.

I think back to my youth and all the indoctrination, fear and shame I had to work through to thrive. All my errors, ignorance and stupidity were indeed mine. To create a timeline which fails to reflect my transformation would be a disservice to me and anyone else who has shed their previous skin. I don’t defend some of the stupidity I said and did.

Even if I attempted a defense of who I once was, I wouldn’t be defending myself.

While my personal views about redemption aren’t religious, I continue to hope that anyone can stop and reboot if self-recognition allows it.

I would hate to think the world wouldn’t encourage anyone to turn away from their past and renew.

It’s okay to be skeptical of those who’ve wronged us or behaved like the Cookie Monster at a bakery convention. As we do, though, we should remind ourselves that some people do in fact change.




PostSecret Saturday

I surprised Dawn with a matinee showing of ‘Post Secret The Show’ at Walton Arts Center. I even bought an extra seat so that we could stretch out and be comfortable. That backfired, as it turned out there was an aisle between the seats I purchased. I gave my extra ticket, however, to a group across from us, so several of us had a better time than anticipated.

As I expected, she loved the show.

On such a fine day, it was as if we had been transported to church on a Saturday, filled with strangers as the show began. As it progressed, we all realized that the world is both wide and universal for us all. Many people were teary-eyed and emotional at several points of the show.

I made friends and since I almost always carry index or note cards in my back pocket, I was able to use a version of my “secrets revealed” on the two ladies seated to my left, after they exited their seats during intermission – and returned to find a perfectly balanced index card on their shared armrest with this message:

“I heard one of you say, “I won’t mention THAT secret” earlier. I can’t explain how I know, but I know your secret. #youcrackmeup.”

During their absence, Dawn pointed out that if I kept out my ever-present stack of cards, they’d immediately know it was me. I assumed they would immediately blame the new craziness on me since I was probably the weirdest person on that side of the theater.

I let them wonder who might have left the card for several moments as they fiercely whispered back and forth between themselves and then we exchanged a succession of revelatory commentary. We shared a moment and a few stories, all of which involved initial awkwardness followed by intense laughter. I won’t reveal the secret in question, but it led them to share a hilarious prank and the aftermath of it with me.

They were incredulous that my real name was X, given that we were all at a show based on anonymity. After the show, another lady asked, “Is X really your name?”

Being very familiar with Post Secret, I knew the revelations were going to be both rapid-fire and poignant. I had left one of my own on the bathroom mirror before the show began. Mine was not read during the show, as the show used a small sample from the auditorium mailbox and none from the bathroom.

I also befriended a lady who had accompanied her husband. She had no idea of what Post Secret might encompass. She left the show intensely curious and full of ideas. In the way that so often happens in such situations, I gave her a brief explanation of the Post Secret universe, followed by one which explained my name and my background. We could have talked for an hour, but her husband had sneaked past her and out the main door.

If you ever have the chance to see the show, I highly recommend it, regardless of your temperament. It will be transformative for you.

P.S. In the spirit of this show, book, and website, I’m going to paraphrase and share what I noted on that post-it note in the bathroom:

“I was going to murder my violent dad one night and the only thing which prevented it was that I didn’t know how to load the gun.”


The success and beauty of Post Secret is that my secret is all too common. Some of the secrets read during the show from those in the audience today were filled with pain, love, regret, and hope.

There are no new secrets, only new faces to give them life.

In pain, frailty, laughter and diverse geography, we share the essential.



#postsecret   #psfayetteville

Real Man of Genius




I decided to take advantage of the weather this afternoon. I drove over and parked near the best dog park in Springdale to take a walk.

As enthusiastic as I was, I opted to forego taking a really long walk. It was a stupendous afternoon and I was able to give an older couple on their first visit a tour and explanation of the area. It should make everyone reading this nervous to think that in many ways I am an unofficial ambassador for Springdale.

Arriving back at the car after a decently long walk, I discovered that I didn’t have my car key in my pocket. In a moment of disgust, I realized that I had either locked the car and left the key somewhere in the front or dropped the key somewhere on my long and circuitous route along the trail and back road. I’m sure that bystanders wondered if I had lost my marbles because I checked my pockets at least three times and then inexplicably removed my hat to check it, too. You never know -at my age, it’s possible to put your wallet in the freezer so a car key in my hat wouldn’t be impossible. Besides, if Seuss can put a cat in the hat, a car key seems benign.

Having no choice, I walked the same route again, vainly hoping to spy my key lying somewhere on or near the trail. My plan for a “not so long” walk evaporated. I knew that if I didn’t find the key, I would be calling my German friend named Über to come pick me up.

As is the case in so many stories, the key was at the very end of my original walk, where both sidewalk and pavement ended. I had turned around there, pulling my phone from my pocket to check the time and change the music selection. This spot is very near an infamous hoarder house I’ve written about before.

I saw a little black object in the middle of the sidewalk from quite a distance, hoping that it would be my key and thus save me from dealing with the persnickety car dealer to obtain another one.

While I was glad to see that my temporarily lost key was indeed the object on the sidewalk at the end of the road, I was a little melancholy to know that I would have to walk the route again to get back to my car. These first world problems are such a nuisance.

I forced myself to walk back to my car, as the breeze lifted me, the sun warmed me, and the music accompanied my thoughts, lost in that beautiful March afternoon. My dogs were barking as I neared my car and the dog park. There were several human and canines shouting, barking, laughing, and cavorting. As I stopped to pet one of the dogs which ran toward me along the fence, my own dogs were forgotten, even as I reached over and laughed too, as the dog licked my entire arm in happiness.

The Brown / Hat Conundrum




The Brown / Hat Conundrum

As you comment to tell me that what I’ve said is stupid,
remember that you decided to waste a precious sliver of
your finite life to denigrate me or my opinion.
People angrily comment when they either recognize the
truth in a contrary opinion or they are insecure about
their own tenuous hold on the world. Lashing out at
another for expression is a self-accusation and an
acknowledgment that your beliefs don’t sustain scrutiny.

Skinny Pasta Experience

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I received an email from Weight Watchers. I had long assumed that they were indeed “watching” me, probably in anticipatory amusement, so I wasn’t surprised. Since all emails are opportunities to earn money and learn important things about both finances and anatomy, I paid close attention when a heretofore unknown product called “skinny pasta” was mentioned. I had never seen the word “skinny” in such close proximity to my own name, at least not in the last 30 years.

Dawn ordered a box of 6 packages of it from Amazon. It’s a little pricey, but not terribly so. Compared to the bill for getting one’s arteries cleared of obstructions, it becomes very affordable.

We were both excited to try it, as the pasta itself basically has zero fat and almost no calories. The Amazon brand also was “no odor,” which leads me to believe that there must be some Konjac pasta which smells like blended skunk livers out there on the market. By the way, you should search for “Konjac,” if for no other reason than to get the idea of liquefied skunk livers far away from your mind.

This pasta was ridiculously easy to prepare and almost impossible to screw up, both qualities which scream my name. I made a healthy marinara sauce for it and offered a bowl to Dawn. I forgot to mention that a relatively small pouch of this pasta contains almost 40% of the daily recommended fiber, too. I suspect it would be ideal to feed to one’s unsavory inlaws, especially if any of them were about to embark on a transatlantic flight – or engage in a dance marathon. If anyone you know has recently bought a new leather couch, this product might also be ideal for him or her.

After a few bites, Dawn said, “This reminds me of eating worms. I stepped on a worm this morning and this is exactly like that.” She made a face so contorted and unnatural that I imagined I heard an ominous bell ring somewhere in the distance, one signaling the end of all that is good and holy in the world. I expected her to then make the sign of the cross and throw her fork across the room. If you are wondering, her face was frozen in horror for 5 days as a result of her taste buds deciding that she was eating worms instead of pasta made from an exotic plant. Please note that it wasn’t the flavor she objected to; rather, it was the strange and unfamiliar texture of the pasta noodles. It might as well have been a plate of human hair, in her opinion.

I, of course, found it to be exceedingly delicious, in part because with the right sauce and/or seasoning, even thin cardboard can be exotically tasty. Anyone who has ever eaten at Buffalo Wild Wings, KFC, or Taco Bell should have no problem eating worms. Legal disclaimer: I doubt any of these chains add worms to their ingredients; my point is that their food is comparable to a mouthful of partially-cooked and gelatinous worms, topped with dirt and dead pigeons. I made the point about cardboard because I’ve discovered that the cardboard packaging at most fast-food restaurants is just as flavorful as the contents.

With the votes tallied, our votes zeroed one another. I, however, love this stuff. The texture is exotic. It reminds me a little bit of spongy surgical sutures as it rolls around in my mouth.

Given that we now live in a society which allows an archaic electoral college to override the majority or the will of the people, it is my pleasure to announce that my ecstatic and overwhelmingly positive review of this product declares that Skinny Pasta is delicious.

I recommend that everyone should try it once and decide if they agree that it is well worth the effort. It won’t make you run 3 miles a day, but in combination with a better diet, you will no longer need to.

P.S. If you order this, don’t eat the packaging. If you’re married, don’t attempt to use my logic at home. If you own Buffalo Wild Wings, KFC, or Taco Bell, please don’t add any flavorings to the food packaging – it’s already delicious and high in fiber.


May You Never…



May you never…

I wrote this for a friend, who like so many of us, struggles with those who voluntarily and contrarily reside in a harsher world than we do. My apologies for the tone. I wrote it in one sitting, with my mind wide open.

1) Never tell someone that they weren’t bullied or that they are blowing it out of proportion. Fear sits in an invisible nest and those who inflict it often hide behind a smile and perfect teeth. Failure to protect those who need it is a hallmark of pathology.

2) Never tell someone that they weren’t sexually harassed or that most of the cases are blown out of proportion. It is incredible how many people have been abused or harassed and have never spoken of it.

3) Never tell a person sitting in a wheelchair or dealing with a disability that he or she has ignorant ideas about disability or how society can make their lives easier. We can endure a little discomfort if it makes another person’s life more manageable and dignified. In a rich society, we can also certainly afford a few dollars to magnify everyone’s ability to live a fuller life. Most of us sit in confusion as we hear people argue against such a fundamental idea.

4) Never attempt to tell a black person that slavery had its benefits, about the ‘real’ reasons the Civil War was fought – or that there are no lingering, pervasive effects of discrimination in modern society.

5) Never forget that many people endure hardship, suffering, and loss through no fault of their own. If you’re sitting in a house with granite countertops and most of the people surrounding you are similar to you in demographics, take a moment to give thanks rather than drag out the clichéd argument of merit or hard work. Many people do everything right and still suffer. If you are reading these words and think that just because you have granite countertops, that I’m referring to you, you are missing the point entirely. If you worked hard to get where you are, all good people will be glad for you. Your success is not the issue.

6) Never insist that a person chooses their sexuality. I didn’t choose mine. Did you? If this kind of issue is important to you, attacking a person for being gay is exactly the same mentality that allowed blacks to be bought and sold, attacked, and vilified. The greater your reluctance to accept this as true is inversely proportional to how likely it is that you didn’t learn this prejudice – you acquired it.

7) Never make an argument that a woman can’t or shouldn’t hold any position, office or authority that a man can. All qualifications exist independently of the letter on a birth certificate and should be judged accordingly.

8) Never forget that being right will not make your life easier if you are shouting it with a snarled lip or with a repetitious and malignant tone. Preach through practice and let your life shine as an undeniable example.


9) Never overlook that all human beings burn with the certainty that they have the right interpretation of religion. Most have become adept at citations, justifications, and all manner of argument to buttress the beliefs they hold. Most good people know that “Be kind” and “Do as little harm as possible” are key components of any religion and yet we violate these basic ideas from fear and pride. Religion which demands that we attack that of another fails to see the seed of its own demise.


10) Never stop reminding yourself that although we may have perfected some small part of our lives or society as a whole, there will always be major roadblocks and setbacks. We are all going to encounter people who are fearful or looking back to the past as their anchor. We blind ourselves to our own ignorance and perpetuate the cycle by making decisions in society which veer us off course.


Be who you are and live a good life in the best way you can.

If you feel like you need to shout in the face of disagreement, stop and consider.

If you feel the need to silence words which conflict with your own, pause.

Above religion, race, sex, creed or geography, fight for the side in which the lesser needs a hand.