Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Departure from Embracing Evil....

I've never been a person to make New Year's resolutions. I think every day can be an opportunity to resolve to do something, not just January 1st. This year, as most years gone by, I didn't officially resolve to do anything different. But now I'm sensing the need to break out of my old habits and embrace change by making a declaration. So today, January 27, 2009, I resolve to try harder to embrace less Evil.

It all began thirteen years ago, I found myself drawn to Evil. It was magnetic, persistent. In a strange new way, it brought me joy. And, contrary to what would be expected, it actually became a bond that held our family together. The focus on this Evil being so strong, my entire family could spend time together in an odd peace. Perhaps we didn't perceive the deception in these moments. Perhaps it was our inner, human nature, the fallen man in us all, but Evil became our delight.

After a time, by the grace of God, we found new life outside of Evil. We began to distance ourselves from the cult-like entity, and thankfully we'd never found others who wanted to join. Distractions with schooling and friends and life drew us apart, and Evil lost its hold. Yet, no matter how hard we all tried, it still lurked in the shadows. It was as if it were a toy, long forgotten in a closet, but longing to be played with. It was still there, unseen but unchanged, waiting to be embraced again.

Years passed, years of peace, of joy. Life. Travel. Marriage. Work. Kids. And then it all changed. My mom called and asked if I could help her. Evil was calling, through her memories and all she wanted was to satisfy that desire. And being the ever-obedient daughter that I am, I couldn't justify telling her no. And I wanted Evil for myself.

I found myself searching, searching for what was right, searching for the perfect fit. And I went where my mother told me to go. I only wish I would've refused, as I have paid dearly.

I went to the website. I clicked on the item and went to the checkout. I purchased the movie, the cult-classic, Evil Roy Slade. And it felt good. But the evil-induced euphoria was short-lived. I soon found that, not only had I bought the DVD for a mere $.25, but they had signed me up for a free trial of their discount DVD community. After seven days they would begin charging me a monthly fee. I immediately went to the site, found a phone number and called asking my name to be removed and all accounts with them closed. No problem. No harm no foul. And Evil would soon arrive.

Within a week, I held the wondrous DVD in my hands, quickly deciding to share Evil with all I knew. It was a happy day.

But then, today I found out all is not well. Evil persists in many forms. There was a charge to my bank account that I had not authorized, from the same company I had purchased the DVD. And when I called, they pretended they couldn't hear me, to the worst extent. After a real person came on the phone and asked my name, they took it, then when I tried to ask for help the non-American person who I had been speaking with quickly gave me this reply, "I'm sorry ma'am, we're experiencing a high volume of calls, please call back at a better time.". What? You can't tell me that! But they did. So, after talking to my bank, and finding multiple charges from the company, I have now forfeited my debit card and will have to patiently wait for a new one.

Some lessons have been learned.
First, Evil can come even through SSL secured sites and wreak havoc on bank accounts.

"Give me *everybody's* money back!" -Evil Roy Slade

Second, I probably shouldn't follow my mom's plans when it comes to online shopping. If this was only the beginning, I don't want to see the end.

"I learned a valuable lesson today. Never trust a pretty girl, or a lonely midget."
-Evil Roy Slade

And lastly, though I will still shop online, I may think twice before asking God for topics to write about. Sometimes answered prayers seem almost Evil, if you know what I mean.

"I ain't giving up. I've worked hard, it took me years to work my way to the bottom". -Evil Roy Slade

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I didn't know I had time for infomercials in my schedule.

Life is complicated. We're raised with rules. We're raised to believe that life necessitates morals. I think that most of us have grown up with this modeled for us. Parents give rules and guidelines. They help set paths so that we aren't led astray. As a parent myself, daily I'm faced with encouraging my kids to follow rules. I tell them it's to keep them safe, to help them learn to obey, to show respect, to... to do it because I just said so!

Yet, in life we also have this inherent desire to push limits and decide which rules should be broken. Children are constantly found testing limits, at least in my house.

"What's wrong with feeding the cat lunch meat on the brown chair?" Maybe it's because we don't even have a cat, that cat is the neighbors. And because that's the only piece of furniture that doesn't look like it's been attacked by rabid monkeys.

"Why wont you let me jump on your bed?!" I wonder if it's because that's how you got seven staples in your head in the ER? Did that head injury affect your memory, too??

"Can I get a new, real tattoo?" When you're old enough and you have a good idea...

This brings into play the "do as I say, not as I do" mentality. It seems inevitable that eventually those words will spill forth from our mouths, as we regret every syllable. But, as you run across the street to catch the dog without looking for cars, so it must be said.

Why does this all come up? Because, as child I was taught to not speak to strangers. Not to fear them either, but to be cautious. And, now as a parent I find myself thinking about "Stranger Danger" (thank you Berenstain Bears), and how to teach my kids. And I wonder how, after growing up and taking this lesson to heart, my mother never believed it herself.

My mom talked to a stranger, and not just any stranger, but a stranger that offered her chocolate. And then invited her to come to a house to get more "free" chocolate. Did she run? Did she flee? No. She, envisioning chocolate like Edmund envisions Turkish delight in the Chronicles of Narnia, wanted only more. Though, to her credit, unlike greedy little Edmund, she wanted to share the spoils. So, she invited me.

Words cannot describe the dread I faced as I approached the poorly lit house. And even after arriving and finding many familiar faces within(familiar only to my mother), I still couldn't help but worry. I kept envisioning triangles and pyramids and other random geometric shapes. To be sure, everything I feared came to pass. We sat through an hour-long preview of what will soon be the nations next leading infomercial.

"It's fun! It's FUN! I like FUN! I like cookies! I never knew it could be SO FUN!"

"And yes, it's true, she's even a doctor. A real doctor!. A real doctor endorsing this!"

"It cured my diabetes, my blood pressure, my hypoglycemia, ADHD, glaucoma, even my iron deficiency, mermaid syndrome, narcolepsy, baldness, irrational fear of bats, my asthma, my head lice and I even grew back one of my missing toes!"

To be sure, after our secret meeting was over, it would happen sooner or later. Someone would be the first to leak the info on this miracle drug. I decided that someone would be me. How will we make millions? How will we cure almost every disease? What is this wonder-drug? Chocolate.

Yet, as much as I wont buy what they're giving, I wont deny that I will continue to benefit from my own self-prescribed dosage. But, unlike as was recommended by these fun-loving strangers, I will not be eating my chocolate in the evening as a replacement for mouthwash. No eating after brushing my teeth is one rule I just can't break.