Sunday, September 14, 2014


When I was a child, my father hit my mother. Not a lot but enough. It was awful, painful and at times terrifying. It is also ancient history. This isn’t an article about lambasting my father. He is a good man who put all those demons behind him. He is also one lucky guy because he had a good woman who gave him a second chance, an ultimatum and forty years of a mostly happy marriage.

Dear NFL, you’re getting this wrong. Don’t misunderstand, I appreciate that you are taking strong, if delayed, extraordinary actions in response to the Ray Rice domestic violence incident which as we are all aware is a symptom of a much larger problem. Like so many others, I was shocked, horrified and nauseated by the video which played endlessly on every media source like some sort of macabre Vine. The issue for me is that you are attacking it for what it is to you, a public relations nightmare. Firing Mr. Rice from the Ravens, suspending him from the NFL doesn’t alleviate the problem, it simply hides the evidence.

So what do you do? Well, a lot has been said about whether or not it is appropriate for a job to act on behalf of a domestic dispute and I’ll admit, I don’t really want my place of business to have domain over my non-business related activities beyond the role of intervention. However, American sports isn’t simply a job. When you are a sports superstar, you are a hero, an icon and role model to hundreds of thousands of fans, many of whom are children and teens longing to fill those cleats one day. Sports stars need to be held to a higher standard. That huge million dollar contract isn’t just to cover time on the field.  

So why isn’t a suspension an appropriate action? Yes, you are hitting him where it hurts, in the pocketbook, but guess what? Nothing has changed except that you have put his spouse in graver danger because now he’s on his way to rock bottom and guess who’s going to be held responsible? What is the undercurrent message hidden within the penalty? Don’t abuse or don’t get caught? “For g*d sake, hit your partner in private. Don’t touch the face. And make sure he or she apologizes for any inconvenience.” Sending an abuser home to his or her spouse without a paycheck is not putting him or her on the road to recovery and more importantly it isn’t providing any resources for how to stop the cycle.

Maybe it’s time we got back to our previous standards of conduct for athletes as role models. Make Ray Rice the face of reformation. Why not make his contract contingent on anger management training? Have him speak in schools, take that ugly video to every high school in America and explain to a sea of young  men and women  and their educators how one moment of violence almost ruined his entire life. Let him face the consequences of his actions head on, every day, in public and make him stand up as a positive influence. Have him stand there alone, in front of this crowd and explain how he put his hands on another human being, knocked the woman he professes to love unconscious and then unceremoniously dragged her lifeless body out into a hallway like a bag of trash. Let him face that demon head on and say it was wrong. Fund this school outreach program from the money which he isn’t losing from a suspension.

Give him the opportunity to change the minds of fans world-wide, not by taking a little time off and losing a little money but by facing them, apologizing, and saying “I will do everything in my power to make this right.” Make it his job to change the hearts and minds of fans, to change theirs boos to applause. And if he won’t do that, then he should be fired because he isn’t doing his job.

Ray Rice is 27 years old and can make a very positive change for a generation. Don’t let this define him and the NFL. Hold every player to a higher standard. Every time. It’s time to end the glorification of sports heroes’ bad behavior and use their celebrity for good. NFL, it’s time for an intervention.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Graduate

Tonight I had an interesting exchange with my father. He was talking about a former teacher in college and said something to the effect of she was 40 and had a couple of kids but she was still beautiful. I asked him why he felt the need to qualify that she was still beautiful despite being a whopping 40 years old and realizing his error he back-peddled a little and said he meant that's he thought when he was in college. I was intrigued because he said it not to hurt or shock me but without thinking about it, in an unguarded moment. Now I realize my Dad grew up pre "The Graduate" before Anne Bancroft made sex with students sexy. (Only the legal ones ladies, under 21 is not ok)  and I also know he finds older women very attractive now in his sixties but it still gave me pause. So I wonder, at what age do men think women aren't beautiful anymore. Or at what age are men surprised a woman is "still beautiful." Ladies, are we guilty of this ourselves? Also, as this is the second time this week a male member of my family has said something mildly to severely offensive about women to me, I am officially not a woman to my family. Maybe that's why the GOP keeps throwing their spouses under the legislative bus. "That's no woman, that's my wife!"

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Mystery

I am attempting to put into words the inexplicable. Today was a funeral. Difficult, sad, uplifting, humanizing; all the things you’d expect a funeral would be. But the funeral was only a catalyst for something greater, something intangible. For years screenwriters and directors have tried in vain to capture the inscrutable relationship of women; women who love one another at a visceral level. Through marriages and divorces, births and deaths, there is a kinship, a calling and commonality that seems to reach across distance and time, mending all wounds and infractions rendering even the major blowouts moot. I have had the privilege of knowing such a group of women. For two decades, these women have passed in and out of my life; we’ve moved across the country, across the continent and beyond. Between us we have I think seven marriages, three divorces, children from infants to high school and an immeasurable love for each other that leaves me humble.

Today marked another milestone, not one which any of us felt like celebrating. The loss of a friend is often unbearable, the loss of a family member often irrevocable, but the loss of a mother is tragic and confusing. There is a bond between mother and daughter, whether you honor her memory or reject her methods, which leaves this scar on the heart. It heals but is never the same. My one friend said it best. “She is a member of the club none of us wished to join.”

It had been years since we had seen each other, and the first time we were all once again together since the last funeral when we put one of our own in the ground, not the reunion we had wished for but today, we answered the call, circled the wagons.

I wish I could express what happened today. It was a Catholic service, which is always a little unsettling to me, having been raised a lapsed Catholic and armchair Christian myself, but the Father was gentle, kind and a bit provocative, hitting just the right notes of humor and shame to leave everyone slightly uncomfortable and yet relaxed at the same time; like a family dinner, tense but familiar. Then came Communion.  It’s a funny word, communion. It means the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, esp. when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level. It was a transmogrification of a different kind, not the mystery of death or the mystery of Christ, but the mystery of women, women who are getting a little older, women who promise to see each other more, women who are busy and struggling, succeeding, failing, fighting but women who answered the call, even when they were not asked. It is the strange beauty of a funeral and the death of a parent. The final sacrifice which brings us together, makes us stronger, braver. There are no words of solace that make the transition easy but the love, laughter and loyalty make the pain a little more bearable. I did not know her mother but I can’t express what a wonderful gift she gave me in her daughter.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

9 Most Annoying Things About Listicles

1) The disappointment you feel when they do not, in fact, blow your mind!

2) GiFs that will not load 

3) The use of pop culture GIFs from two decades ago that have nothing to do with the list in the first place

4) Typos. adn bad, grammar

5) I’m gonna say it; Jennifer Lawrence. Love her work but girl, please!

6) Journalistic Unemployment

7) The Presumption that Buzzfeed always knows what’s “Hilarious”

8) Exclamation points!!!

9) Cats. No that’s a lie, cats are always awesome!

10) People who get their news from Listicles