A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

30 November 2011

Foreign Thoughts

Okay - first off, I am not a racist, nor someone who jumps to any type of conclusions about what you eat, what you watch, which church you go to, who you sleep with, what politician you like, how attractive you are, what your weight is, etc. Basically if you are nice to me - I'll be nice back and I don't care if you are pink, purple, beige, blue, brown, yellow, or orange. I really don't mind. I never have.

But tonite, after stopping at Starbucks to get my daughter a mochachocolatte, there were two men outside the building conversing with a foreign accent...speaking a foreign language. One was younger...the other about 20 years older. I don't know what language they were speaking - coulda been Arabic, coulda been Serbian...didn't sound Swedish and it certainly wasn't French or Spanish.

The bad thing is - I got into my car and mentioned to my daughter something about "Hope they're not terrorists." It wasn't exactly that - but it was along those lines. Then I stopped myself and told her how incredibly bad it was that I was thinking that...just based on the fact they were two men of a nationality which undoubtedly gets a lot of suspicious glances nowadays, i.e., they didn't look like the blonde guys who sang that "Take On Me" song.

Ordinarily I wouldn't have thought this - I grew up in Jersey - and many people were of Polish, Italian, and whatnot descent. I just kinda disgusted myself and wanted to share. How terrible it is to automatically think terrible thoughts because I've been conditioned by the media to fear someone who looks a certain way. Granted, terrorists did some heinous crimes and I don't discount those...but, to think that of these two guys outside a Starbucks just because they are "different" from me...just annoys me.

I grew up in a time (I was born in 1960) where the 1970s saw its share of plane hijackings, bombings in airports and the horrible massacre of Olympic athletes during the 1972 Munich games. I can never remove the image (or the name) of ABC news reporter, Bill Stewart, forced to kneel on the ground after being pulled from a van and then shot in the head. Why I have that one etched into my memory is beyond me. I guess it was because it was shown over and over on television at the time...and the shock of seeing a life one second and a death the next...has stayed with me. Just like images of people jumping out of the World Trade Center buildings...it's not something you can just erase.

And now I can't erase this impulse thinking I have in my head...and what was probably a pleasant conversation outside a coffee shop makes me anxious and I hope and pray nothing bad was actually going on.

That...to me...is sad.

And to those two men -- I apologize.


  1. I do it, too. So does everybody outside of, perhaps, Mister Rogers and Mother Theresa. And they're both dead, so...

    What I'm saying is that it isn't abnormal to think of possible dangers, and especially not when with one's children. Those who have different physical characteristics from our own will tend to trigger something deep within our psyches that arms us for flight or fight, as needed. It is something we can ameliorate, but it is not something we can eradicate, IMHO.

    So, relax and don't beat yourself up about it. That's my take, anyway.

  2. I commend you for immediately recognizing what you said to your daughter and how that may have been out of line, and then apologizing for it. Some people aren't even self-aware.

  3. In unrelated news, an Alabama Starbucks blew up this morning. Local police have no suspects.

  4. Wow. Am I the only one to notice her "Aha" moment? Get it? Or must I 'esplain it you?

  5. just checking for an updated blog post.