Tuesday, November 7


Welcome to my blog.

I've been thinking about doing this for a long time, but have fallen into doubt over whether I have enough tenacity to keep it up. God knows I have enough things to say--give the girl a soapbox--but writing them all down, and putting them out there for somone else to see, now that's a different story.

In any case, welcome. You probably are here because you already know me and I told you to come here (and in that case, thank you, and you are very good at following directions!). However, if this project were limited only to people I know, well, that would just be like having dinner and chatting (assuming you leave comments), which, now that I think of it, would be kind of nice, so never mind. What I meant to say is that if you find the writing interesting, that is, if it prompts you to think or actually say something (leave a comment, pass a thought on to someone else, plant yourself in a chair at anywhere-but-starbucks and gaze out at the vast expanse of sky and wonder at the profundity of it all--you get the idea), then PLEASE pass this blog address on to someone else. Who knows, maybe that person will be the hundredth monkey, the tipping point, the straw that broke the camel's back, or even the one who will lead the movement to ban trite catch phrases! So, spread the word.

I bet you want to know why I am calling this blog "Here's What I Don't Get" Humor me, say you wanted to know. Tell you what. Just nod your head at the computer screen, that'll be fine.
Oh, I'm so glad you asked. I am calling it "Here's What I Don't Get" because I am terminally confused. I am confused at why people are so rude, I am confused about how people can ignore the way that our country is sliding ever-so-stealthily into facsism (although check back with me later, it's election day today, I might be moved to a brief moment of slight optimism).

On that note, did you vote? If you didn't, well, I hate to be so off-putting, but I think you should leave this blog right now. And don't come back. Even if you are one of my friends (to think that one of my friends wouldn't vote...it seems completely impossible). I mean it. You have to vote. It seems pointless sometimes, I'll give you that. And yup, it may be actually pointless if the election is rigged or stolen through the perversion of technology and the profileration of evil minds (which is entirely possible). Do it anyway. Do it only so that you can meet the standard that my parents set for me (I know, but this was one of the good ones): If you don't vote, you can't bitch. Okay they didn't say bitch, they would never say that. They said "If you don't vote, you can't complain". But bitch has such a better bite to it, so I use it. Deal with it. I mean, come on, you want to complain. You want to speak up about what you think is right and wrong with our society, our government, our laws.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. The first amendment and all that--a guy I had this conversation with reminded me emphatically that he could still bitch, complain, whine, work for justice, whatever, whether or not he voted--that that's our right as Americans. So, in the interest of fair reporting and full disclosure (or whatever)--YES, of course, you can still complain if you don't vote. YES, it's your constitutional right to speak out no matter what. YES, those rights can not be taken away (well...actually....never mind, let's not go there). You're right. You can do whatever you please.

But it lacks integrity. It lacks oomph. It lacks style. It lacks courage. It lacks accountability. Your vote is your voice, at least one way of shouting it out. It's not the only way. It better not be the only voice you express. But it's part of the package. So get off your duff and go do it.

Good. I thank you, my mother thanks you, my father thanks you, and your country....well, never mind. Good job.

I was talking about the name of the blog..remember the name? You know, I really agree with the idea that being smart is about knowing what you don't know, knowing that you don't know, always looking for answers and understanding. I strive for that. And at least one of those parts I've got down cold. There is so much I don't get. So so much. More than you, I bet. But let's not get competitive. Here's the list, just as it occurs to me this morning..

I don't get why people don't smile at each other, what harm it would do them.
I don't get why people follow leaders blindly.
I don't get why people let huge and obvious blunders just pass without comment (like, let's say, weapons of mass destruction as the reason for invading Iraq)
I don't get why people let their two year old children drink coca-cola.
I don't get why people laugh at other people.
I don't get why people think it's fun to drink too much.
I don't get why people don't get the separation of church and state. It just seems so simple.
I don't get why anyone would spend $800 on a baby stroller--are the wheels rounder?(did you know that those strollers you see everyone pushing around these days cost $800 plus? Well, they do)
I don't get why people who have lots of money get expensive things free and why people who have no money have to pay more for everything (I know, I'm the daughter of an economist, I should understand that, but I don't. So there)
I don't get why such a huge section of America is so interested in what brand of jeans movie stars wear, and worse yet, why they go out and spend money that they don't have to have the same ones)
I don't get why extraordinarly violent movies and video games are fun.
I don't get why people let their six year old girls walk around with shorts that say "darling" across the butt, while professing to be disturbed that kids are are not allowed to be kids anymore.
I don't get why people wear uncomfortable shoes. For that matter, I don't get why people wear shoes at all. Maybe it's so they don't cut their feet on the detritus left from careless littering, which I don't get either (ah...a subject for a future blog!)
I don't get why people defend gun ownership when our children are dying every day.
I don't get why Daylight Savings Time is in the summer, when it's the winter when we need to save daylight. There's plenty of it in the summer, isn't there? For that matter, why do we need to change our clocks at all--are we so unable to deal with the reality of nature's clock?
I don't get why people don't believe in evolution, and I don't get why it's incompatible with religious belief. Have they never visited the zoo and noticed the vague similarities between us and gorillas or chimpanzees?
I don't get why, when people don't believe in evolution, they say it's a "theory", as if all of science is not based on theory (like, say, gravity).
I don't get why cashiers get so confused when my bill is $5.76 and I give them $11 and a penny.
I don't get it why people talk out loud on their cell phones everywhere, and I definitely don't get how to stop that from happening.
I don't get it why our national policy seems to be "Close the Barn Door After The Horse is Out"
I don't get it why it's unthinkable (and worthy of war) for any country in the world to have nuclear weapons, but great for us to have them.
I don't get why baseball players and actresses make millions of dollars and teachers make almost nothing. And I don't get why we smile in gratitude when those baseball players and actresses talk on TV about how important our teachers are without really doing anything to change that imbalance.
I don't get why taking care of children isn't "real" work.
I don't get the concept of having "enough friends" and so being unavailable to do things with potential new friends.
I don't get why being smart is a bad thing, and being popular is a good thing.
I don't get why people think that standardized testing will improve education.
I don't get why parents sit and chat while their children treat other children (or adults)with disrespect.
I don't get why so many boys (and sometimes men) continue (i.e. past toddlerhood) to hold their forks in their fists. (if you haven't noticed this, watch...you'll see)
I don't get why nearly everyone thinks that it's natural and normal for people to vote for policy that benefits themselves, rather than that which benefits people who may need the government far more than they do.
I don't get why people fall for negative campaigning, why it changes polling and voting numbers at the same time as people condemn it.
I don't get why people don't pick up after their dogs.
I don't get why people don't talk to their neighbors. Or listen to them.
I don't get why people can't understand that poverty is a source of violence.
I don't get why they don't make cute footy pajamas for adults.
I don't get why people honk excessively (okay, the people don't honk, their cars do)
I don't get it why parents buy little boys camouflage clothing.
I don't get why there are "boys" toy and "girls" toy aisles at Toys R Us and I really don't get why people freak out at the suggestion that that is not a good idea.
I don't get why so many young women are so quick to say they're not feminists while they benefit daily from the work of feminism.
I don't get why good teaching is so underrated, and why children pay the price for bad teaching, rather than teachers.
I don't get why people value sports more than the arts in our schools.

As you can see, there is plenty to write about under the title of "Here's What I Don't Get".

So, you ask, is there anything you do get? Well, my answers might just surprise you. There are some things that I think I do get, which is not to say that I agree with them, just that I think I have some insight into them. Of course, I don't completely get anything, so you can rest easy.

I get why people hit their children and pets. I hate it, but I get it.
I get why people find it so hard to get out of poverty.
I get why baby clothes often have feet attached.
I get why people sometimes kill themselves (I do not get why, if they're going to do that anyway, they sometimes kill other people first)
I get why children need immunizations.
I get (on some level) why critical thinking is so threatening.
I get why history is a really important subject (I didn't get this when I was in school)
I get why there's a full moon once a month (approximately)

You can see that this list, at least as I can generate it off the top of my head, is much shorter. I told you. There's a lot I don't get. (Hey, do me a favor...If you know something that I get that I don't know that I get, will you let me know? Thanks). So that's what I'm here for. Maybe you can respond with your comments or your own blog about what you don't get, what you do get, or help me to understand what I don't get. That way, we all grow. Peace, man.

And one more thing....whenever possible, I'm going to put a quote or phrase that I like at the bottom of this blog. Do with it what you will.

Tomorrow (or the next day), I start in on the hard stuff. This was just an introduction...can you imagine?


"If going to church makes you a Christian, does going to the garage make you a car?"


pat said...

Oh yeah. On my way home from work tonight I was listening to NPR. One of the bazillion candidates running across the country was described as a "democrat" who is pro guns, anti abortion and pro war in Iraq. So, I was thinking: then how does the republican describe himself? and what, exactly about the first guy makes him a democrat? i give up.

pat said...

well today was a small victory for sanity. no wonder that there isn't one person abroad who understands our position when you have a 'president' who says his party was "thumped". i mean who the hell can understand *that*?

Barbara said...

You get why you're my sister.

chris roberts said...


All so well said.....it's after midnight, and my brain is fried, but I like your sentiment and blog!
Glad I read thru it!


the other pat said...

well....here I sit in a democratic dallas county ....there are more of us in texas than I thought....here is my question....how do you undo something that affects the lives of thousands and thousands of people who are contributing members of our society in most ways that make sense....who have purchased homes and raised children and grandchildren and farmed our land, paid taxes and grown old here and are for all practical purposes americans....send some of us "back home", send most of us "back home" or send us all back home???

robin said...

Pat (the other one)--I clearly don't know much about the politics in Dallas (and definitely didn't know that it went democratic!)...I assume you're talking about immigration issues? Write more about it!