Things I’m Tired of Hearing About

Americans are very dedicated people. When they love something, they REALLY love it (at least for awhile). This includes trends, TV shows, singers, and other bits and pieces of popular culture. America’s pop culture is very infectious. It spreads rapidly all over the globe, especially with the advent of the internet and websites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. While this is awesome in many ways, it also has one major downside: Everything risks overexposure, from pop stars to fashion trends. There comes a time when you’re just so sick of hearing about something that you just want to punch the next person that mentions it to you. I have reached that critical mass point with a number of pop culture icons, and I’m going to make a list to share with you. Feel free to comment and add all the crap you’re sick of hearing about too. Here goes:

My Official List of Crap People Need to Shut Up About:

1. Twilight. Ok, come on. This nonsense has been going on for upwards of 3 years now. I have not read any of the books or seen any of the movies (I refuse on both counts), but they CANNOT live up to the hype – there’s just no way. I’m so tired of hearing about all things related to this horrible phenomenon – the clothes, the school supplies, the “team Edward v. team Jacob” thing, etc. And since when do vampires sparkle? Did Dracula sparkle? No. But Dracula was a terrifying, blood-sucking monster, not a sparkly little fairy man. Also, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are not that attractive. Cosmo (the magazine) seems to uphold “RPatz” (gag) as the ideal of a hot guy, and I could NOT disagree more. Please note also that all information related to knowledge of the characters, their relationships, the plot, etc all come solely from indirect exposure to the Twilight series. If I know what kind of car the main character drives (a silver Volvo) and I haven’t even read the stupid books, it’s overexposed. Someone cover that mess up – no one wants to see that.

2. Lady Gaga. “Lady Gaga isn’t like OTHER pop stars. She’s truly an ARTIST -a VSIONARY. She has real passion and music is her LIFE.” Bullshit. Lady Gaga is just like any other pop star. Her image is carefully crafted to receive as much attention as possible. Wearing an outfit made entirely out of Kermit the Frog heads or slabs of meat and going pantsless 99% of the time is all part of that attention-seeking image. And musically – well, I just don’t see the intense artistry. Maybe it’s because I’m not an artist. Yeah, “Just Dance” and “Pokerface” were catchy, but I don’t really think they were high art like everyone else does. I say give it 10 years and she’ll be shaving her head and going to rehab just like the rest of the pop tart club.

3. Silly Bandz. I think this is something that you have to be under the age of 15 to understand. Silly Bandz are silicone rubber bands that come in all different colors and shapes. Instead of just being round in their natural shape like a regular rubber band, these are shaped like animals, characters, letters, etc. When you put them on your wrist, they just look like squiggly rubber bands. Kids buy these up by the dozen (literally – they come in packages of 12 and 24). Real Silly Bandz, I have learned, are $6 per pack. Large Retail Store has started selling Silly Bandz knock-offs in the jewelry department for $2-$4, and so I see these every day and field questions like “Do you have any Justin Bieber Silly Bandz?” I just don’t understand the draw of these. They aren’t really toys, and I don’t see much “play” potential in them. It seems like the popular kids in each school district arbitrarily decided that they were cool, and so now everyone has to have them. It’s bizarre. I suppose all grade school trends are kind of like that though.

4. Miley Cyrus/Justin Bieber/Jonas Brothers. I group this trifecta of evil together because they are essentially the same thing: Young kids making bad music geared towards pre-teens. Once again, much of my hatred here is spurred on by my daily contact with licensed products featuring these characters at Large Retail Store. Fortunately the Jonas Brothers seem to be fading, and Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus seems to be headed that way too (albiet much slower than I would like). Now Justin Bieber seems to be the Thing. Hopefully this too will be short-lived.

5. True Blood. I mean, why don’t you just watch porn? You could save money on the HBO subscription.

6. Jersey Shore. Ok, so I’m confused. The kids on “Jersey Shore” like to party, are orange, of Italian ancestry (supposedly), in good shape, and collectively dumber than a brick wall. How did they get a TV show? Oh… wait… MTV. Nevermind. I temporarily forgot where I live and what year it is.

7. TV shows about teen pregnancy. I loved the movie “Juno.” I thought it was really cute and heartfelt and all those adjectives that people use to describe movies like “Juno.” However, I blame its success for the surge in TV shows that center around teen pregnancy, like “Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “16 and Pregnant.” I don’t know if people realize this, but being in high school (or, God forbid, middle school) and getting knocked up is not a good thing. Shows like this give kids the idea that it’s alright if they get pregnant because they can end up on a reality show, get famous, make lots of money, and maybe get a book deal or singing contract out of it. Here’s what REALLY happens: You get pregnant and your boyfriend peaces out because he wants nothing to do with that amount of responsibility (he is immature, like you). You miss lots of time from school for doctor’s appointments, giving birth, and recovering, which causes you to fall behind in school. Maybe you graduate, maybe you don’t, but you will more than likely NOT go to college, which means you have to get a low-paying job to support your kid. Your social life is now non-existent and while your classmates are partying it up in college, you’re bagging groceries and changing diapers. Sounds super glamorous to me.

8. Eminem. First of all, as I have stated before, the only white people allowed to rap are the Beastie Boys. You just cannot be a white rapper and take yourself seriously. Second, why is this dude still making music? We get it – you grew up in a Detroit, had a rough life, and hate your wife. If I have to hear him talk about tying people up and setting the house on fire one more time while I’m at the gym, I may commit some arson myself. Can we move on, please?

9. “Your Love is My Drug”. If I had to nominate a song for “Most Obnoxious Song Ever Written,” it would be this little gem by Ke$ha (famous for her use of Jack Daniels as toothbrush/toothpaste combo). It is not only mind-numbingly repetitive, but her voice is so grating that it literally causes me physical pain to listen to this song. Unfortunately, this song is (inexplicably) one of the most popular of the summer, so I also have to endure it (along with “The Way You Lie” by the above-mentioned Eminem) at the gym.

So, let me hear it. What are the things you’re tired of seeing & hearing about in this great (but severely misguided) nation of ours?

The Bright Side of Deployment

Military wives are a diverse group of people. Some have kids, some don’t. Some have more money than others. Some work, some don’t. Some are educated, some are not. Some live on-post, some don’t. Some are Republican, some are Democrat. But the one thing that all military wives have in common is this: We hate deployments. No woman wants to be away from her husband for 6, 12, or 18 months every other year. It’s especially hard for the wives who have kids – taking care of small people by yourself is pretty hard (I don’t know this from experience – just observations and talking to other wives). The more kids you have, the harder it is – and God forbid you be pregnant while your spouse is gone. It’s also just downright lonely and if you don’t have kiddos (like me) being the only person in your house for days and weeks on end can drive you up a wall. Sometimes you just have to go to the store and walk around so you don’t feel like the walls are closing in on you. If your spouse deploys and you are new to the area, it’s likely that you haven’t made many friends, so now you’re in a new location with no one you can really turn to for help if you need it. All of these things make deployments extra-lame. But, in an effort to “always look on the bright side of life” (you’re welcome for the Monty Python reference), I have tried to find some good things about deployments. Most of these apply to people without kids because that’s been my experience. Here we go:

1) “War money” – I am borrowing this term from a friend. This is her phrase for all the hazard pay, separation pay, etc that soldiers receive while deployed. I am of the opinion that we don’t pay our troops enough, and no, I’m not just saying that because I married one. If you saw the paychecks, you would think so too. But one good thing about deployments is that this extra money can be used to pay off debt, saved, or used to make large necessary purchases (like a newer car, new mattress, etc) that you might not be able to pull off while your soldier is home. Does this money make up for the fact that your husband is gone? No. Does it make up for the fact that he is in danger of bodily harm every day? No. Does it pay for the missed holidays & birthdays that he doesn’t get to see (especially if you have kids)? No. But it does help, and it’s better than nothing.

2) Sympathy visits – “Oh, poor Gertrude*! Out there at Fort Whatchamacallit all by her lonesome! We should go see her!” Yeah, I’ll say it. I love when people come visit me and I don’t care if they’re doing it out of pity. I have been fortunate this time around to be able to have friends or family come out to see me at least once a month up until this month. That’s pretty impressive considering we are now 7 months into a 12 month deployment and my closest friends and/or family are 10 hours away. My job at Large Retail Store does not give me vacation time, so I can’t really go home to see people. Otherwise, I would have used this time to travel around and see my friends from school and visit my family more often. It definitely makes me feel loved to know that someone has traveled a long way just to spend a few days with little old me, even if they only did it because they know I’m lonely and bored out of my skull.

3) Complete control of the remote – My husband and I don’t generally argue too much about what to watch on TV. He does, however, watch a great deal more TV than I do. When he’s home & awake, the TV is on almost constantly. I prefer to have the TV off if I’m not actively watching (oxymoron?) a show. Also, my husband has no tolerance for my desire to watch Glenn Beck (don’t judge me) and I find Robot Chicken to be THE most idiotic show ever created. But while he’s gone, I can have the TV on when I want and turn it off when I’m not watching it. I can watch my daily dose of rightwing nutjobbery in peace. A small consolation, yes, but I’ll take what I can get.

4) Leg-shaving becomes optional – Again, don’t judge me. I know you hate shaving your legs too. All the nicks and cuts and the in-shower gymnastics to assure that every patch of stubble is removed… ugh. So not worth it if you’re not getting any. Obviously if you wear shorts or skirts in the summer you can’t get away with this as much, but I wear jeans most of the time year-round, so I only have to undergo this ritual if I plan to go to the pool.

5) Automatic renewal of marriage – When you and your spouse are physically separated for up to 15 months at a time (not counting a 2 week R&R), you tend to stop taking each other for granted when he comes home. It’s almost like a default second honeymoon (or third, or fourth, depending on how many times you’ve gone through this). I know this isn’t always the case – it takes some adjusting to get used to living with someone else again, and a lot of the guys who have seen the worst combat situations have a terrible time readjusting to civilian life. But it’s been my experience that my husband and I appreciate each other more and take each other for grated less when he gets home.

Do deployments suck? Absolutely. Do these things make a deployment ok? No. But while they don’t completely ameliorate the loneliness, boredom, and worry that comes with a deployment, they do make it a little bit more bearable. At the very least, it gives you something positive to focus on.

*No, my name is not Gertrude.