Thursday, June 11 2020

super heros, phones, wrestling, and black lives matter

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody! How are you feeling on this bright and beautiful Thursday? This week has flown by pretty quickly, and I suppose that could be a result of being cooped up inside for a few days in a row. With the furious summer rain and wind raging, we've been forced to get creative with how we get our energy out without the help of spending time outside.

Rodney is on a super hero kick. For the time being, we've ditched our Spider-man nick names for each other, and now Rodney is just Super Hero Rodney, and I'm Super Hero Dada, etc. And Rodney is also under the impression that being a super hero is all about changing outfits every few minutes and wearing clean socks on your hands. During the early morning or his afternoon quiet time when he's alone, he's started to change into different outfits, using his tiny plastic stool to elevate him just high enough to reach his shirts on the rack and pull them down. And even more strangely, he seems to have a preference for khacki's and the heavy long sleeve t-shirts that he wore last winter.

"What are you wearing dude - did you change your outfit?" I said getting Rodney out of his room.

"Super hero outfit!" He yelled. I noticed a bulge in his right pocket.

"And you got something in your pocket? What's going on in here?" I laughed.

"Super hero gloves!" he replied, struggling to fish the four pairs of wadded up clean socks out of his tiny pant pocket.

While Rodney was channeling his energy into his own spiffy dressed, sock slinging super hero, I channeled mine into finally sorting out the chaotic mess of smart phone hardware in our house. Over the years, we had already accumulated an array of defunct chargers and accessories, and after welcoming two more bouncing baby Pixel 4's into our home, it was getting too much for me to handle. I cleared off the dining room table and dumped out my tech bin.

"Old stuff on the right, new stuff on the left," I muttered as I began sorting through the mess of cables, adapters, and plastic bags.

I finally finished setting up our phones too. After moving over Marissa's passwords, we both sat at the table giving our old phones one final glance before the big factory wipe.

"You know these old phones just feel so damn slow now," I laughed. "I can't believe we put up with these things for so long."

And with that, I unceremoniously wiped both phones, bagging them up with their original factory charger. "I think I'm going to try to sell these," I said to Marissa. "Even if someone only buys them for the parts, why not, right?"

The new phones are really growing on me. The elusive swipe navigation is a little silly, and I still fumble over the keyboard, but the screen is so bright and clear. I can see every sharpened letter of text, even while scrolling. And the giant 120 GB hard drive is also really nice. You should have seen how much I was smiling copying my 18 GB music collection over in its entirety. No more megabyte pinching for us!

In the evening, after polishing off some frozen pizzas, Rodney and I played with foam swords in the living room, and later some good old fashioned wrestling on the carpet.

"OK dude," I said. "So the point of wrestling is to try to pin the other guy. Lemme show you what a pin is."

I grabbed Rodney's shoulders and threw him to the ground, letting his small frame hit the ground, but catching his head. Rodney laughed as I flipped him to his back.

"See how you got both shoulder blades on the ground? That's a pin," I explained "You're goal is to get out of it - now arch your back and try to roll to your belly."

Rodney grunted and strained, and with some help, he rolled to his belly.

"OK, now I'll show you how to get out of a headlock," I said, grabbing his arm. Rodney began to yell.

"HELP! MOMMA! HELP!" he strained.

"No no no, it's OK dude, just relax and breathe," I said, attempting to soothe him.

"I. CAN'T. MOVE," Rodney grunted, letting his arms dangle in front of him. "I'M STUCK."

"I know, dude, that's what a headlock is," I chuckled. "Here, lemme show you - "

"HELP! HELP!" he yelled through my instruction. I released Rodney's head, and he sprang to his feet, running his hands through his disheveled hair.

"I guess we'll work on head locks later," I laughed.

I put Rodney to bed. Against my better judgment, I allowed him to sit on his green dinosaur during story time - but he only held on to the privilege for the first few pages of the book.

"OK, Dinosaur goes on the ground," I scolded.

Rodney squirmed, and began to whine. "Why?"

"It was the bouncing, dude," I said. "You can't bounce during story time."

Marissa and I met on the back porch for a beer. Our deck chairs were soaked with rain, so we just stood by the wall and watched the rain clouds swirling in the night sky.

"So what do you think of the mayor's video?" asked Marissa with a smile.

Earlier that day, our mayor had been caught privately sending a pretty embarrassing video expressing sympathy to the police department. She even went as far as to password protect it. Apparently, some people associated with the police were offended at how "softball" her sympathy was and decided to share the video on Facebook to humiliate her.

In the video, the mayor dramatically removes her mask a few seconds after the camera starts rolling, and proceeds to say things like "I know you are not what the protesters say you are" and "It must be so hard standing out there in your riot gear and get rocks thrown at you", which looks especially bad after she's repeatedly pledged solidarity with the protests and promised to be open to dramatic change with how we operate the police.

"It's amazing how she's managed to just piss off everyone with this," laughed Marissa.

"Oh isn't that wild?" I replied. "So here's my take - after you get past the sheer embarrassment of this video, I think this was just a uniquely poor execution of the typical centrist thing we see most democrats doing. For most democrats, their knee jerk reaction is to empathize with social justice issues, but at the end of the day I don't think they're even close to being willing to make fundamental changes to how we use police in this country."

I took an angry swig of beer, continuing. "I mean look at Biden - his idea of police reform is 'teaching them to aim for the legs'."

"You know I got some really mean comments on that painting I made?" added Marissa. She had made a painting featuring a prominent Black Power fist, and had been publicly vocal about her solidarity with Black Lives Matter. "One lady was like, 'I am so disappointed, you were my favorite creator and mentor', and another lady just said 'do not be a sheep'. I haven't even looked at my follower count."

I laughed. "That's fascinating. Oh, you're definitely going to lose some good will over this. But hey, that's a sign that you're doing the right thing. You're certainly doing more than I am - I'm proud of you."

Inspired by Marissa, I'll also throw my hat in the ring. I have solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. I'm equally sobered and grateful for the eye opening stories that have come to light in all this. I'm learning so much right now, and I think the best thing we can do is to just shut up and keep learning - learn as much as we can and focus all of our anger into actively changing the way we see things.

Marissa smiled. "Oh, and one lady told me that Black Lives Matter was just a scam set up by George Soros - do you know who he is?"

I laughed loudly, and rolled my eyes. "You should be glad they stopped following you."

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great day today, everyone.

rest in power