I can’t help but chuckle at all of the people on Facebook and in the media lamenting Whitney Houston’s death. They all feel “so horrible” and “so sad” about her “untimely passing”. Well guess what? I don’t. Not an ounce of me feels bad and I refuse to apologize for my stance on this too.
I can credit my parents for my complete lack of sympathy for anyone who chooses to ruin their life with drugs. Growing up, my dad went out of his way every chance he got to not only tell us that drugs ruin people’s lives, but he would show us too. A few times a year, he would drive us over to the Bronx and let us see how other people lived. That was in the 70’s when the Bronx was in its poverty heyday. (Watch Fort Apache, The Bronx if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) He would drive us through neighborhoods where people had cardboard for windows, half of the buildings were abandoned, graffiti was everywhere, and junkies roamed the streets. He would slow down and say “Do you see that? If you do drugs, that’s how you are going to live! It’s pretty cold in the winter when you have cardboard windows”. He would drive us past the Bronx Detention Center, where I still remember the inmates being able to yell out the windows. He would say “They can’t go to a Yankee game like we are because they are locked up for drugs.” Drugs over the Yankees? Never!
He also taught this lesson close to home, every chance he got. He would comment every time we drove past the park by my house and saw people were sniffing glue out of paper bags. Again, he would slow down and say “Do you see that? If you want to ruin your life and be homeless, then sniff glue like that guy is doing! You will melt your brain and definitely won’t live in our house. You can live at the park with that guy instead!”. Living in the park with glue sniffers never sounded very appealing to me. Neither did cardboard windows or a half melted brain. In fact, all of his examples scared the sh*t out of me! Thus I never did drugs.
I don’t raise my daughter any differently than my parents raised me. This morning she came downstairs and asked if I was sad because someone named Whitney Houston died. I told her “Absolutely not!” and used it as an example of drugs completely ruining someone’s life. I told her all about what a great singer she used to be, and let her hear some of her songs. Then I showed her the picture in the paper of her from one day ago, all sweaty and drugged out, and told her that Daddy and I don’t have any sympathy for people who choose to destroy their lives and throw their gifts away, and neither should she! This isn’t a new topic for her. I have also let her see parts of Celebrity Rehab and Intervention so she can see what a disaster drugs are on people’s lives. I have friends that have told me that perhaps that’s a little much, but I don’t think it is. My parents went out of their way to make sure I never did drugs by showing me examples, and I hope for the same outcome by showing my daughter the same things every chance I get. I hope I am scaring the sh*t out of her, and that someday she does the same to her kids!
So there it is…my two cents. I’m not being holier than thou. If people want to destroy their lives using drugs, that’s their choice…but there will be no sympathy coming from me. I don’t feel sorry for Joe Schmo drug addict and I don’t feel sorry for Whitney Houston either.
PS – Thanks Mom and Dad!
“Sympathy? The only place you’re going to find that around here is in the dictionary somewhere between shit and syphillis!”
That, my friends, is the single best sentence ever uttered in my presecence. My friend’s dad said that about 20 years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it, nor stopped chuckling at those words of wisdom. It just speaks volumes to me.
Now, let me preface this by saying that I am not a completely cold hearted person. If someone has something legit to complain about like an incurable disease or a traumatic event, I’m right there with you and all ears and hugs. Also, if you just need to vent here and there, great – but if you could keep it on the brief side and make it funny, that’d be even better. Otherwise, save it! The older I get, the more I feel this way.
I really believe Facebook is what brought me to this grand realization in life. There are some people who feel the need to make every status a complainy one. “I can’t find my umbrella, so my whole day is going to be ruined.” “I have a hangnail and it hurts!” Boo-Hoo – Poor You! Truth be told, I keep people like that around as a friend, because their PIA statuses help me keep my life in perspective. I can however really appreciate a friend’s recent status that said something along the lines of “I just fell down a flight of icy stairs and really hurt myself, but my hair still looks fabulous!” See, that’s how you do it!.
I’ve taken to keeping my ears open out in the world to test out my theory. It’s just everywhere – stores and any place people might have to wait for over 3 minutes are my favorites. Holy Christ on a Cross. It is gripe city out there.
Because of this, one question in life I’ve come to really hesitate to ask is “How are you doing?” I’ve got a good chance of opening Pandora’s Box with that one. Case in point, if I ask my Dad that question, he is going to really answer me. I’ve known the guy my whole life, so I’m prepared for the answers I’m going to get. (By the way, you are solemnly sworn to never repeat I ever said such a thing about him, because it will just start a family feud, and I will deny it like a champ!) I do ask him though, because he’s my father and it’s kind of my duty. I won’t ask too many other people, unless they are a good friend, because they too may actually answer me, and I will be forced to look interested while tuning out their griping and thinking funny remarks in my head. Truth be told, I don’t actually care to hear the complaining. If you ask me, I’ll just say “Good” and leave it at that. That’s how I think it should be.
There is however one particular person I do ask that question to every single time I see him…the old man that works the coffee counter at the Wawa by my house. I ask him because he gives answers like “Great!”, “Wonderful!” and “Fantastic!”. I am convinced that he could have a limb hanging off and he would still give me the same answers. He’s just a happy guy and he makes my morning as soon as I walk in the store. If only there were more people like him in the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I bitch about things too – but I have rules I have set for myself on this.
#1 – Keep it under 5 minutes. I’m Italian, and that’s how we do things. We get mad, yell, and move on like it never even happened. Non-Italians kind of have a hard time understanding that one, but it works for my culture as a whole. (Little side note: we may not bring it up again, but we sure as hell don’t forget it either)
#2 – Find the humor in it. If I’m going to bitch, I need to throw something humorous in there to lighten it up a little. Being I can laugh at just about anything, I don’t find it very hard to do. (Snarky comments included) It might not be immediate, but it’ll come eventually. If I don’t do it myself, my friends will throw in little reality check comments for me, and that’s why I love them.
#3 – Is this going to matter tomorrow? I’m a “sleep on it” kind of girl, so this is something I live by. If it’s not going to be something I think about when I open my eyes the next morning, then it’s probably not very important at all – just an irritant. Therefore, it will rate in my world as a little rant and I move on. Problem solved.
In a nutshell, I am complaining about complainers, I guess. Hypocritcial? I don’t think so. I know every day isn’t going to be all rainbows and unicorns, but if I am breathing – it sure beats the alternative! Thus, if you come to me looking for some sympathy…well, now you know where you will likely find it.