Trigger

I was recently shopping for a new book. I looked at a review. In the first line of the review was a plot point of the book. No spoiler alert sign, no warning…just a plot point. Because the plot point was a “trigger”.

Thanks to dictionary.com, we know that trigger is to initiate or precipitate. Certain words or phrases bring about certain thoughts or ideas, which are harmful to the person experiencing them.

But what do we think about trigger warnings in books?

I understand the reason for them: some people have gone through traumatic experiences and do not wish to relive them. I completely understand.

However, is it fair for the rest of us to be forewarned of what is going to occur in a work of art?

Do we cater to the 10% of the population that might have a problem?

Or do we let majority rule?

Here’s my thought:

If a book contains trigger warnings, how about we put them in the back of the book. My feeling is if one is worried about the content of something, the onus should be on them to search for it. Make it standard in every book that the last page is the trigger page.

This way, no one starting out the book has any indication of what the plot points may be- they read the book and decipher clues without being told anything.

And in reviews, I think the triggers should appear at the bottom of a review in italicized type so that the reader of the review can skip it if they want.

I know that I want to go into a book without knowing anything other than the briefest plot summary. The joy and beauty in reading a book is discovering what lies on the next page. If it is something horrific, I want to be caught off guard- that is what the author intended. I think you lose the power and impact of a story or situation of you know it’s coming.

I will not read the book that was spoiled by a trigger warning. Instead of savoring the words or the story, I will constantly be on the look out for the “scene” that was described. I will not enjoy the book…

But that’s me:

What do you think about trigger warnings in books?

There’s A Reason-However…

I’m going to tell you a true story-

  1. On a Tuesday my stove broke
  2. On Wednesday we bought a new one
  3. On Friday morning the stove was delivered
  4. On Friday Afternoon my building handyman installed the stove
  5. On the following Monday a new law went into effect in New York City- only licensed plumbers were now allowed to install gas stoves

Background: About five years ago there was a horrible explosion in Manhattan’s East Village caused by faulty gas installation. The law was enacted to try to prevent future explosions.

Ok- you have the basics. Now let’s get to the practical:

When my building handyman installs my stove, he charges me about 8% of the cost of the new stove.

If I have to have a licensed plumber install my stove, their fee would be about 90% of the cost of my stove.

So, you see the cost differential.

I discussed this new law with members of my virtual book club. All are NYC residents so this law would apply to each and every one of them.

We had been talking about bureaucracy and I mentioned this new policy and the inherent flaws that I saw with this new law. First off, it once again made living in NYC more expensive. While I understand why it is important to have gas appliances installed properly, I also know that my handyman and building super are both armed with certificates in plumbing as well as other things. I opined that they should have a certification course for building staff so that building staff could continue performing this job. I also said this was going to inversely effect people who live in public housing, because the NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) would try to batch new stove deliveries so that it would take forever for someone to receive a new stove. NYCHA is not known for it’s well thought out managerial tactics.

Do you know what the members of my book club all said?

“Well, I just won’t have a plumber install it. My ________ will install it. Who will know?”

Which of course leads to the third problem:

More people will end up getting hurt because they will just choose to just not obey the law, therefore, even less experienced people will now be installing gas appliances. In reality, there will be more chance for inept gas line hook up.

So…

Here’s some possible discussion points:

  1. Though the law is obviously done to protect people, is it too hard to follow the law?
  2. Would you pay 70-80% more to have your appliance installed, or would you find a cheaper and not legal alternative?
  3. Would you buy a place that uses gas appliances, or would you seek out electric?
  4. Do you think this law will work?
  5. Anything else you want to add?

Of course, timing is everything, so I’m glad I don’t have to worry about this, for now, and that I sprung for the extended warranty for my stove.

Out with the Old

I lost a lot of tech/appliances last year: Off the top of my head I know that I replaced my phone, computer, tea kettle and stove.

The appliances I replaced went from working fine to not working…literally overnight…

Well…

Sort of…

After I cooked that first meal on my new stove, I realized how bad my old stove was. I recognized that the burners on the old stove were either way to high or way to low. I realized the oven didn’t cook things evenly and probably wasn’t even close to the correct temperature.

As time went on, the stove slowly began to show its age. I just didn’t notice it. I didn’t notice it because things were “good enough”. It got the job done. I just didn’t notice its inefficiencies.

I began to think of that as a little metaphor on life. How things appear fine, because you’ve just gotten used to them, adapted to the quirks. But down inside, they’re ready to break.

I took my stove for granted. I just assumed that it would continue to scramble my eggs and roast my meats because it always had…I never stopped to think how much it had given me.

So today, I want to think about the things in your life: your body, your relationships, your job, your hobbies, your blog, and I want you to think about how they are running. Are they still at 100% factory brand new? Or are they about to break due to overuse or lack of proper maintenance?

Are there areas of your life that could use some tweaking?

Are there things that you’ve carried around for far too long?

Are there things that are broken but you refuse to acknowledge it?

Are there things in your life that you should start over?

Try to take care of the things in your life that are important before they break. Not everything can be bought online and delivered in two days prime.

Legal or Ethical?

Remember “Law & Order”? They used to do fictionalized cases based on real life events. We are going to play that today because I am too lazy to find the actual facts of recent events…

Here’s the hypothetical:

Setting: A vaccine distribution center

Time: 10pm

Situation: 6 doses of the highly coveted COVID 19 vaccine are set to expire at midnight- in two hours.

Doctor in charge of lab chooses to vaccinate six people, including his wife because he doesn’t want the vaccine to expire unused.

Doctor is fired from his job and arrested for stealing the vaccine and faces charges.

What do you think?

Is the Doctor a villain or a hero?

When my family discussed this yesterday, my daughter just looked at me: “We can sit here all day and discuss what’s legal vs what’s ethical…”

My Husband’s contribution: “Well- how do we know he didn’t hold back vaccines specifically so he could vaccinate his wife?”

So, give me all your thoughts on this ripped from the headlines story:

Highlights of the Week That Was- February 14

This is my Valentine’s song this year

For today’s thought question:

Is math racist?

Gratitude Saturday February 13

My daughter and best friend recently shared a video with me. It just about summed up the new normal for me:

Some of you may have seen it, for the rest of you, hope you enjoy…

I am grateful that I saw this video!

Hoping that you can view it! You may have to go directly to my page- you know the drill…

I know people don’t always agree on humor. I know that people don’t always agree. I thought this was funny. If you don’t, no worries…I’ll still accept and respect you…

Please watch responsibly

Anything Can Happen Friday: Valentine’s…

It seems that we’ve been going out of our way to hate one another lately…we look for reasons to pick apart someone else. We’ve put up an imaginary line and begun to put people into groups. We consider some groups to be correct, and some to be wrong. We have managed to leave no room for doubt. You are either one way, or the other.

Thinking that one side is completely correct while the other side is completely wrong is not intelligence. It is not enlightenment. It is ignorance.

Now…you can continue to think that there is a right and a wrong, a yes and a no, that there is no room for discussion or debate….

But don’t be surprised if nothing changes…

Don’t be surprised if things stay the same…

Don’t be surprised if things get worse…

I know that some of you are saying to yourselves, or to me, that there are bad people out there….people that must be stopped at all costs. And I completely agree. But there are extremes to both sides, those 10% of the people who are truly bad…

But isn’t it time for the 90% of us who are mainly good to band together and take on the real haters? The real haters that exist on both sides of the imaginary line?

On this weekend that is supposed to be about love…let’s try to love thy neighbor…

And if you can’t love them, try liking them…

and if you can’t like them…

Think about accepting them for who they are, good and bad…

Think about respecting the opinion of someone who thinks differently than you.

Let’s think about not trying to look for reasons to hate.

Let’s look for reasons to not hate.

Prep

You know I love a list. You know I love order. You know I love a planner.

I get that things happen all the time that throw us out of our orbit. For example: this past year…

I realize that we can’t plan for every contingency- that things will always go horribly awry…

However…

Sometimes…

I run the dishwasher every evening. I like to either empty the dishwasher before bed, or first thing in the morning. I like to have an empty dishwasher so as we start dirtying things, they can go right into it.

My family, for some reason, finds this annoying. (For the record- I don’t ask them to do it. I just do it myself) My husband might complain that unloading means I have to cross in front of the TV to put dishes away. My daughter might complain about how noisy it can get.

After enough complaining you just start to not care…

So I backed off my dishwasher routine….

One morning, one of our new dishes was sitting idly in the sink. When my husband was making his coffee, he dropped something into the sink, cracking our new dish…

Expletive.

Expletive.

Complaint.

And all I said was: “That’s why I like to empty the dishwasher.”

Trust me…he was really not happy with me after that comment…

But he was less happy with himself…

Because he finally understood why I had that plan…

I know that we can’t plan everything. It’s impossible to have a contingency for every single event in our lives.

However…

A little prep and organization does go a long way…

If you’re always losing your keys, and spend time looking for them…at some point don’t you think :Wow- if I put my keys in the same spot every day, think about how much time and aggravation I will save?”

I don’t necessarily advocate for planning a weeks wardrobe and meal schedule (ok- I do- but baby steps…)

But logically, shouldn’t you have a plan for some things, one or two little organizational hacks that help just a little

All I’m asking is that you think about it…and think why you’re so resistant to it…

Eliminate the Positive

I read something recently that stated that there are two kinds of people: Halloween People and Christmas people. I thought this was a fun idea to ponder, so I researched a bit this morning to see what attributes these sort of people have.

As I navigated the internet rabbit hole, I happened across something on http://www.live365.com. It was an article about the fifteen most popular holidays around the world.

  1. Valentine’s Day
  2. Easter
  3. Christmas
  4. Thanksgiving
  5. St. Patrick’s Day
  6. Halloween
  7. New Year’s
  8. Chinese New Year
  9. July 4th
  10. Oktoberfest
  11. Dia De Muertes
  12. Hanukkah
  13. Ramadan/ Eid al-Fitr
  14. Diwali
  15. Bodhi Day

Looking at this list got me thinking:

Why do we choose to celebrate certain things?

which led to-

Should we hold celebrations for religious holidays?

Religion is private. It is personal. Everyone is allowed to pick and choose what religion they want to follow. You are also allowed to not choose a religion and not celebrate a religion.

So- does it make sense to celebrate any religious holiday, because it might exclude someone and make them feel bad about their choice, or lack, of religion. I mean, we want everyone to be equal and treated fairly…

Let’s get rid of large scale celebrations of religious holidays:

  • Valentines
  • Easter
  • Christmas
  • St. Patrick’s
  • Halloween
  • New Years
  • Dia De Muertes
  • Hanukkah
  • Ramadan/Eid al-Fitr
  • Diwali
  • Bodhi Day

So these are the holidays that we will celebrate with large celebrations:

  1. Thanksgiving
  2. Chinese New Year
  3. July 4
  4. Oktoberfest

But wait- is the Chinese New Year religious? Technically it isn’t…but as it borrows from Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism…

So- Discussion Point 1) Should we include Chinese New Year as a non religious holiday?

Ok- so while we ponder that, we are left with:

  1. Thanksgiving
  2. July 4
  3. Oktoberfest

Ok- good- these are our holidays…

Oh wait…

Oppression….

  • Thanksgiving
  • July 4

Ok- so we are left with:

Oktoberfest….

The official holiday of the year is Oktoberfest…

What do you want for Oktoberfest?

Oh wait…

Not everyone can drink, or likes beer…

And I can’t help but wonder: When will we have sales?

Happy Wednesday…

They Said what?

Let’s do a hypothetical:

Someone commits a crime.

They get caught, endure a trial and are sentenced.

They apologize for what they’ve done.

They feel regret and remorse.

They serve out their sentence, and get released.

Does society forgive them for their actions?

Do we allow them to get a job? Home? Go to school?

Do we allow them to have a family, or see the family that they left behind?

Does their family forgive them for their wrongdoing?

Ok- are you keeping your answers and thoughts in your head?

Next part-

Someone makes a slur- it can be racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, body shaming, contemptuous of people who may have a lower IQ, any remark that can be seen as degrading to a person or group….

They apologize for their actions…

Does society forgive them?

Why or why not?

Can you tell a joke without being derogatory to someone or something?

What do they say…humor is tragedy plus time?

Let’s skip to public figures who err in their choice of speech…

Ellen is now hated because she’s mean, Kevin Hart is a homophobe, Paula Deen is a racist…

Say they apologize:

Do we accept their words now?

Or do we just keep thinking about their words then?

Are they guilty for the rest of their lives?

Or at some point do they get paroled, released from word prison?

Have you ever made a statement that could be considered mean? Against a group or anything?

I know I’ve been known to tell a blonde joke or two…

And what about “It’s OK if I say that because I am of that group…”

For example- I’m ethnically Italian- Am I allowed to make Mafia jokes?

Genetically, I’m about 12% Asian- can I say that’s why I’m good at math? Or why I’m not the greatest driver?

Everyday I hear or read about another person or company that we are supposed to ban…

I want to know who the morality police are…and I want them recorded 24/7…

I want to know why we seem to have slipped back into the world of Puritanism…I can only guess that we have a generation of kids who have never read the Scarlet Letter…

But what letter should these new brand of offenders wear? What should we stitch to their shirt to show the world who they truly are? To make them feel their shame and humiliation every day…

Should we accept apologies?

Or should we punish them forever?