Gossiping Girls

Gossiping Girls

When I hang out with my girlfriends, a lot of the conversation involves sharing information. We share about ourselves, our families and mutual friends. It turns into “gossip”, however, when we speak purely with the intention (whether we’re conscious of it or not) of cutting  down the people we’re speaking of. I gossip the most when I’m feeling the worst about myself. I think that’s what it’s all about, really, minimizing other people in order to feel better about yourself. If I felt completely secure in who I am, why would I feel the urge to say unflattering things about others? After all, if I truly consider myself another person’s friend, my job is to lift that person up through words of encouragement and praise, even when she’s not around. Yesterday, I flew from Omaha to Albuquerque to spend the week in my hometown of Los Alamos, New Mexico. I suffer from pretty intense motion sickness and boarding my plane from Dallas to Albuquerque, I wasn’t sure if I’d actually be able to endure the flight. I’d been up since four in the morning, hadn’t really eaten anything, I missed my husband intensely and I was close to passing out I was so nauseous. Needless to say, I was an absolute mess. A wonderful flight attendant, Karen, saw my pitiful condition and pulled me aside as I boarded. She asked if I was doing ok and I just fell apart completely. She gave me a big hug and assured me that it was a short flight and I’d be fine. She made me feel infinitely better by a simple, kind gesture. If a complete stranger was moved to...
Not Aspergers, Just A Sinner

Not Aspergers, Just A Sinner

Sunday night, as I drove to CVS to buy another Pillow Pet for MaryOur fiery 21 month old, I drove a little slower to catch a story on This American Life with Ira Glass.  Act Two: Wife Lessons, told a story about a wife (and special-ed teacher) who after many years began to notice that her husband exhibited many of the same behaviors which many of her students with Asperger’s exhibited.  She sat down with him and read a series of questions from an “Aspie-Quiz“, and the two discovered (with confirmation from their doctor) that the husband suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. After sitting several minutes in the driveway listening to the conclusion, I decided to take the quiz for myself.  A few examples of the questions asked included “Do you get easily frustrated?”, “Do you enjoy gossip?” “Do you become frustrated if an activity that is important to you gets interrupted?” “Are you gracious about criticism, correction and direction?”  Do you tend to say things that are considered socially inappropriate when you are tired, frustrated or when you act naturally?” “Do you get frustrated if you can’t sit on your favorite seat?” “Have you have had long-lasting urges to take revenge?” The test includes 150 questions, and as a whole, seems to cover a wide spectrum of thoughts, feelings, and impulses commonly suffered by those with Asperger’s.  The test is a “yes/no/maybe” format.  I scored very low, which means that I am “neurotypical” and many of my answers were not a matter of psyche, but of sinfulness.  I do not seek to downplay the role of Asperger’s...

7 Things Spam Taught Me about Temptation

No, not the lunchmeat. Temptation is supposed to be something desirable. Here at T&C, we’ve been keeping a close eye on our spam filters to keep you from having to read the kind of garbage we do. I’ve noticed, though, that spam has one major thing in common with the Devil’s time-honored tactics: Marketing. Both tell us things we want to hear or appeal to our desires. Here are a few examples: Flattery. Yep, that special appeal to pride we’ve all experienced from the devil is also used by spammers. I’m frequently tempted to approve a comment like this until I notice the vocab errors: “Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you ever been blogging for? You made running a blog glance easy. The full look of your web site is fantastic, let alone the content material!” I make running a blog glance easy? Sweet! Of course, if it’s not the poor choice of words coming from a non-native English-speaking spammer, it’s the fact that the username was “get out of debt.” Temptation uses flattery, too. The trick to flattery is to get the individual to appreciate your compliments in such a way that he will feel bad for not giving you what you want. The spammer wanted me to approve his comment. The devil wants me to sin. Quid pro quo. The thing about spammers and temptation is that they need our cooperation so much they don’t mind making themselves helpful. Between the comments “Want to increase traffic on your blog?” and “FREE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS!” I freely admit that I’m more attracted to the first. Temptation works...