Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Zombie Killer in All of Us

My 12 year old nephew recently introduced me to the show "The Walking Dead" on AMC.
The show has been on for several years, but I only started watching it recently, thanks to his prompting. I am only 35+ episodes behind, but I am slowly catching up to season 4. The show is about the Zombie Apocalypse--a world full of zombies where only a few people survive. These few people are now fighting off zombies around every turn just to stay alive. In season 1 a few episodes in, they find their way to the Center for Disease Control facility in Atlanta, and get inside the building to take refuge. They had hoped there would be doctors and scientists inside with a cure or at least a pending cure for the zombie madness. Instead, they find one lone doctor who has given up hope. He explains that the whole world has been taken over by zombies, all the other CDC doctors are dead and that he can't find a cure. A digital clock on the wall is counting down. When it reaches zero the whole building will be blown to smithereens and the doctor is planning to stay in it when it does. He is done. Finished. Giving up. He tells the others that they should give up too. It will be more peaceful this way he explains. You know what happens if you go outside, he says. You will die a terrible, horrific death, i.e. death by hungry zombie. In here, death will be painless. It will be all over soon. One of the group members agrees to stay, but the others start screaming to be let out of the building. They grab guns and shoot at metal doors. They pound on walls. They do not want to be blown up with the building. They do not want to wait for the clock to tick down to zero. They do not want to die this way. No matter how bad it is out there, they will not commit mass suicide in here. Why? The doctor asks. What is there to live for out there? Didn't you hear me?  The WHOLE WORLD IS GONE!  His question is answered this way:
We want a choice. We want a chance.
In other words, "Even though we know that there doesn't seem much to live for, we choose to live because there is always that chance that everything will be OK. That we'll make it. That we might survive. We might stay alive long enough for a cure to be found. We choose to live. To fight. To stay alive for each other. We believe that there might be something else around the corner that isn't dead, dragging it's back leg and growling."
My friends, that is called HOPE.
And at the risk of sounding like I have a big head (since Hope is my name) I ask you this --What do we have if we don't have HOPE?
Nothing. No reason to live.

I was in Florida visiting family recently and ran across this T-shirt:

We can all agree with the Anti-Obama folks that change does suck sometimes. But Hope?
Think about it. Why get up day after day? There are zombies out there! Big, smelly, hungry, angry, persistent zombies! The two biggest "walking dead" are Death and Taxes! We will also face the zombies of sickness, natural disasters, unexpected emergencies, lost loved ones, rejection, bullying--many other things that disturb, destroy and demoralize us. We will keep going. We will press on. Why?
We get up because we believe that there is something worth getting up for. We have hope that our lives, our words, our touch, our kindness, our work, generosity, talent--will make a difference. We believe today might be the day. We might experience something great. We might feel love, give love, find love. Do something incredible. See something amazing. We might not change the world, but we get up because a child depends on us. Or a group of people depend on us. Some, like me, believe that God has a purpose for each life and that the time we spend here is important because we have a choice - a chance - to make it count for something. We aren't here to just live and die. We are here to give and die--give our love, talent, and money to take down the zombies, or at least make the zombies seem less daunting, to lessen their impact, to keep them away from others as best we can--to make it better for those alive today and for future generations until the day comes when we move on to the zombie-free world waiting for us on the other side. Today and tomorrow we will get up even though we know that the zombies of death, pain and sickness are all around us. We choose to live on because we have what it takes to kill them. We have hope!

-Hope A. Horner, 2014
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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Scouts Dishonor

Got the munchies? I can help!

Did you see the story in the news about the Girl Scout selling cookies outside of a pot shop? Her sales are smokin' hot. Here it is in case you missed it:
Not a single one of you will be surprised that this takes place in San Francisco. However, some of you may be surprised that Mom seems more worried about "being cool" and raking in "cookie profits" than she does about her daughters exposure to drugs (legal or not), men who may be high, oh, and the tarnished image this may give the Girl Scouts. Of course, Mom chalks it up to a "learning experience." She thinks she's helping her daughter discover new parts of the city and giving her an educational experience, you know, so she can learn how some people use pot to get high while others use pot to cure ills. Oh sure. I can just see the slogan now:
Girls Scouts: Teaching girls the difference between pot head and pot help for over 100 years.
Join Girl Scouts! From Pot Holes to Pot Shops: We Explore Our World!
Yes, really.
I am not going to launch into a anti-pot rant. It is the mom who bugs me. What has she put ahead of her daughter? How is she justifying it?
She's proud that her daughter sold 117 boxes in 2 hours.
She calls it a learning experience.
Even the title of the news story calls the little girl "savvy." Listen, Mercury News, it's MOM that is being savvy, not the little girl. The little girl is being set-up.
And get this:  This is NOT the first time this young scout has been placed outside of a pot dispensary to sell cookies. According to mom, she's been to a few pot shops around town. Nothing brings you back like brisk sales. Evidently, business outside the Safeway was 37 boxes slower. Yeah Mom, but it was also a better environment for your little girl. And less likely to give her the impression that drug use, even medicinal drug use, is the norm. Would you put her outside of "The Happy Jug" liquor store on 5th and Main? It's another part of the city she should see and there is A LOT to be learned there. For example, she can learn that you hardly ever win any money on Scratchers lottery tickets, that people rarely use a trashcan, that gums sticks to concrete, booze comes in brown paper, cigarettes burn long after they are dropped, oh, and if you go behind the store, you can take a pee in the alley without anyone seeing. Great life lessons!
However, you might not sell as many boxes of Girl Scout cookies in front of the liquor store because people will be either:
A) In a hurry
B) Drunk
C) Hiding their face
So maybe the Green Cross Pot Clinic WOULD be a better choice for a young entrepreneur. Nobody is hurrying, in fact, people are moving VERY slowly, only a few are drunk, and there is no reason to hide your face because pot is cool. In fact, the Green Cross is a reputable place. Look! The Girl Scouts are even there. So go ahead. Set up a table and stack up the boxes of chocolaty minty delights. That is if you want your daughter to be acculturated to the world of weed. Is there a Girl Scout patch for that? Probably in San Francisco there is. Mom gets the "Cool Mom" patch (featuring Rosie the Reefer) and the little girl can get the "Neighborhood Explorer" patch which features a five leaf compass that points north, east, northeast, west, and northwest. (Oops! Sorry girls! We forgot south...chalk it up to a short term memory problem.)

Here's a thought, Mom, since you are all about teaching your daughter valuable lessons--maybe you set up the cookie shop outside of a drug clinic, or a rehab house and let her see the faces of those who lives have been ruined or derailed by drug use? I am sure you have those all over town, too in a variety of neighborhoods. And there is plenty to see. She can sell cookies to 40 year olds trying to get back on their feet. The ones who thought a little toke behind the bleachers in junior high was no big deal? Business might not be as brisk though. People usually have less cash for Thin Mints and Tagalongs when they are trying to put the pieces of their life back together.

I don't judge people who dance with Mary Jane; I just don't think Mom made a good call on this one and I know I am not the only one. Sure, there are lessons to be learned about marijuana, but there are better ways to teach those lessons and let's face it, I don't think it was really about "teaching" for you anyway, mom. This was about SALES plain and simple. Once you're done making a cookie fortune outside the Green Cross Marijuana Dispensary, please DO talk to your daughter about marijuana. Teach her that some people need it for medicinal reasons. Tell her how some people THINK they need it. Some people don't need it, but want it and wish they could kick it. Some people stick with marijuana and never try anything harder. Some people go way beyond that. Some very successful people toke it and then head off to their big offices and collect their big paychecks. Some toke it at home in their mother's basement wishing their life away. It's practically a food group for college students. Like anything that affects your brain, there are risks.

There is a lot of talk about it. I know it's a popular topic, the laws are changing, "Everybody's doing it" --- soon it will be like alcohol. There if you want it. Just don't abuse it. Don't smoke and drive. Friends don't let friends drive high. "Moms Against High Drivers" will form. Cops will carry drug testing devices in their patrol cars so they can check a driver for THC in the field.
Step out of the car m'am.
Whaatttt officer?
Are you high?
Here, blow into this.
Whhhaaattt? Whhhhhyyyy?
I think you may have been smoking pot.
Whhhaatt?  Meee?
Yeah you. Here. Blow!
But, offf-icerr! I wasss a, a girrrrl scoutttt!

-Hope A. Horner, 2014
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