Friday, September 21, 2012

Will The Person Who Stole America's Sense Of Humor, Please Return It!

Oh my heaven's!!! Where did our sense of humor go? It has gotten lost and we are seriously endangered. Just put us on the endangered species list...we're toast.

At first it was the whole politics thing. The last few years, it has become real obvious real quick that nobody could give anyone permission to think differently from them. This is otherwise known as the "you think different than me, so you're obviously wrong syndrome." I'm tired of it. I'm just daring the national political parties to call my house and ask for donations. I'm dying to tell both sides what my sister told the ones that called her house, "I'm not donating one thin dime until ya'll learn how to get along together!

Then, let's just think a moment about the division of people's opinions on Facebook. I was griping about it to my middle son one day, because I've decided some of the people I've friended are possibly downright nuts. My son's advice, "either unfriend them or fix their feed so you never see it". I told him I couldn't do that. As an informed citizen, I want to know what people from all walks of life are thinking. My inner sociologist needs to know. But, the Facebook hostility is just a little part of the background. Sometimes the put-downs are in the ridiculous and silly hateful posts on a slow cooker page, putting people down for cooking with cream of mushroom soup. (I guess some people just don't know it's a rule you have to have at least one dish at the church dinner with cream of something soup in it.) Yes, that's a joke.

I had already known for years that religion was a hot topic. When I got married (34 years ago), my wonderful father-in-law John, who just happened to be famous as one of the rabid democrats of the community, also happened to be a different denomination than I had been raised. One of the important things my mother felt the need to pass on to me before marriage was the little gem, "there were 2 things I should never discuss with my future father-law: politics and religion".

However, I was more of a dare-devil in those days, so I brought up both topics the first time he came to dinner. It was stimulating. I even got into one of those "once you're saved, you're always saved, even if you commit murder later?" discussions eventually, although, I think I saved that one for a later date. That was a long time ago. Now, I just want everyone to play nice and get along together. John has been deceased since 2005, but if he were still here, I wouldn't dream of even discussing politics with him now. He was definitely a what you see is what you get,100% American original, however, and I think he would be disappointed at the current state of affairs.

But, tonight on Anderson Cooper, I heard about this lawsuit involving a pink playhouse. I wasn't paying attention when they said where this was happening, I didn't know the story was getting ready to go bizarro on me. I was listening to my little kitchen TV that doesn't have that luxury of a rewinding DVR, so I couldn't go back for the missed details. However, something tells me the nation has not heard the last of this playhouse story. The housing addition wants the little girl's playhouse repainted because pink does not fit into the community plan and they feel so strongly that the pink playhouse is destroying the integrity of the neighborhood, they have filed a lawsuit. I would like to reinforce that this playhouse appeared to be the Cadillac of playhouses. This was no shabby tacky playhouse. Any yard should be proud to have a playhouse of this caliber. However, I did hear the little girl's grandmother say she wasn't giving up and would fight the battle out in court and that she would move before she repainted that playhouse!

Having been a child that grew up with a playhouse, I know the benefits of having a little playhouse out in the yard. Having earned a degree in Family Relations and Child Development, I could probably make a list or write an essay on the benefits of imaginative play. We need more imaginative play in this country, because we need children to grow up creative. And why do we need creative children? Because we're going to need lots of inventions to get us through the future. My teachers taught us in college that play is a child's work.

Good grief. We need to get over ourselves and give permission for people to think, even if it's different from us...and unless they're thinking of doing things that endanger the lives of others - let there be thought.

We need more thought...and pink playhouses...and tree-houses, and cardboard box space ships, and finger paint  play dough, and lots of other things that give children wings to become the future.

And we need to make sure that we're also teaching our children tolerance and compromise, a whole bunch of it. Because as the old story went, we're in a mell of a hess.

         Elaine Bellamy…aka the Red Dirt Cowgirl

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