Answers, the fifth!

Might as well nail a few more Answers, huh? Fair warning: one of these is to a pretty odd question that I received via e-mail from someone who apparently wants to remain anonymous (and not the one who usually e-mails me good questions like that, either).

Andy asks (shortening a bit): Am I the only person that doesn’t trust anyone with a hyphenated name?

Probably not, but I’m not one of them. I’ve never much seen the big deal of this practice, but I did once know a guy who was really offended by the occasional practice, on some kind of odd Biblical justification that struck me as being a bit odd. Taking a man’s last name when one marries is one of those practices that I think might make the best sense when seen in terms of avoiding confusion, as we expect surnames to denote family units. When you have a different one, it requires more verbiage to convey the existence of the family unit. “We’re the Joneses!” becomes “Hi, I’m Ted Jones, and this is my wife, Alice Rambaldi.”

But then I think, well, is it really that big a deal if one then can’t think of that family as “the Joneses”? Or is it just something we expect because that’s the way we’ve always done it? Ultimately, I guess I file this under “whatever the family wants to do is fine with me”. And I say “the family” as opposed to “the woman” because I did know a couple once where, upon marriage, they both took on a completely new last name, different from what they’d each had before. I’ve never known anyone else who did that, but they took a creative tack, so who am I to judge? It’s their family, their name. OK? OK!

Roger has a ton of questions, as always. Here’s an interesting one:

I was reading Mark Evanier’s column and he wrote recently: “The other e-mail was from someone who seems pretty happy Trayvon Martin is dead because, you know, he was a druggy gang member who probably deserved it. Martin may not have been guilty of something at that moment but he was foolish enough to go up against an armed man so he brought his death on himself. Or so this guy believes. I don’t think I’m going to consider him a friend any longer.”
Did someone’s politics/values/thoughtlessness ever end a friendship with you?

Yes, but not all that often. In fact, I can only think of one time, really, and it happened just this past winter, and it was the other person who jettisoned me, not vice versa. Go figure.

This person is an individual I knew in grade school. We weren’t good friends then, but we weren’t enemies either, although as kids can sometimes be, on occasion we strayed into adversarial territory. Nothing really major, if I recall correctly. But then, a couple years back, he friended me on Facebook, and I reciprocated.

One thing I discovered, that I didn’t remember from high school, was that this fellow is Republican. In all-caps. It was kind of strange, I thought – not his conservatism, but the degree to which he seemed, based on his use of Facebook, to define himself by his politics, because that’s virtually all he ever posted: Republican stuff, links to articles in very conservative media outlets, Republican photo memes, and so on. For a while he used as his profile pic a cartoon that had a cow’s arse in close-up, and instead of cow-patties, the orifice in question was emitting the famous Obama ‘O’ logo. That’s the kind of thing we’re talking about here, and he was a pretty prolific poster, too. Lots and lots and lots of dispatches from Republicanland, each and every day, including global warming denialism and all manner of histrionics over the looming likelihood of “government completely taking over healthcare”, and so on and so forth. Basically, he made himself a one-stop shop on Facebook for Republican talking points.

Now, on Facebook, I’m pretty much the same as I am on this blog: rarely political, and only when something really out-of-the-ordinary jolts me into a political mood. I think about issues a lot, but I just don’t define myself that way. If you have one minute to get to know me, and I’m choosing the things I hope you walk away from that minute knowing about me, I’m fine if you only get a vague sense of my personal politics. Not so this other fellow: You will know what he believes. I mostly tended to scroll right past all the stuff he posted (and I have similar friends on the liberal side whose stuff I also tend to scroll right past, because I just don’t think Facebook is at all useful for delving into political issues), choosing to interact instead with his occasional post about a teevee show or music or football or whatever. And all was well.

Until last Decemeber, and the Sandy Hook shootings.

That was one of my moments, one of my times when I just couldn’t stay silent. I posted a few times that day, indicating that the awful event in Connecticut was my breaking point and that I was pretty much permanently moving my position on guns from “Not my thing, but rock on if you want” to “The hell with these damned tools for killing and our fetishization of them”. (I only make that point here to illustrate the tale, not to invite a debate in comments. Not interested. At all.) Well, my friend decided to post a response that wasn’t rude in any way. But still, it seems to me that there are times when you have to see how raw a person is and, well, maybe err on the side of not saying anything at all. So I responded back, fairly harshly, noting that I was not in any mood to hear from the gun-nut crowd and that when I wanted to hear his side’s talking points, I knew quite well where to go and find them for myself.

That did not please him, and after a bit of back-and-forth – which really, in retrospect, was not all that heated – he took his ball and went home. I was unfriended within the hour. I think what really set him off was my casual comment that I see lots and lots and lots of Republican stuff on my Facebook timeline each and every day (he was far from my only friend on that side of the aisle), and yet when I post a single thing advancing my political view on a day of extreme hardship, I was suddenly confronted by a massive case of the vapors. It was really odd. He wasn’t the only one to express dismay at what I said that day, but when I pointed out that apparently I’m supposed to listen to “All Republican all the time” without ever raising my hand to say something liberal, well, that was the end of that.

Since then I’ve become a lot more freehanded in my use of hiding stuff on Facebook. I still have only unfriended a handful of persons, and none of those were for politics. I like to think I have a good ability to get along with people on differing sides of the fence, although I do suspect that I, like most folks, may well gravitate more toward people of similar mindset to my own. For whatever reason, my classmate decided that we were too fundamentally unlike to interact in any way. That’s his call, and from my readings of political history, I’m honestly not sure that “the tone” right now is really any worse than it’s always been before, although there are troubling signs that give me pause, and I’m especially bothered by the fact that our political institutions really aren’t built well for the kind of strict political polarization that we have now. And yes, I do think that the Right in this country needs to come back to Earth at some point. But that’s for another day.

All right, that was awfully serious. So here’s the really strange question posed to me via e-mail:

How do you pee in overalls???

Erm…OK. I’m going to assume that we’re talking about, well, dealing with overalls in the bathroom, and not a more literal reading of that question. I’ve actually heard and read women complain over the years about overalls in the bathroom, to the point of actually dropping the shoulder straps in the toilet. Yeah…ewwww.

Well, the question’s there, so…well, here it is. Don’t unfasten the shoulder straps.

Huh? How does that make sense? Well, unless your overalls are super-tight – and they really shouldn’t be – this should work. You leave the straps fastened, but unbutton the sides, those buttons at the hips. Usually there are two or three of them, and once you undo all those, the overalls will be super loose. At that point, just lower the straps down the shoulders and shrug your way out of them, much as you would a jumpsuit or a pair of coveralls. Then just lower them like any pants. You can tuck the extra material from the straps into the legs or something, if you wish.

Yes, this does work. I’ve had to execute this maneuver myself when the facilities were, shall we say, not well-endowed for space. And in general, I find mucking about with a belt and all that other jazz on normal pants to be just as big a pain in the butt in cramped restroom quarters as bib overalls.

Annnnnnd, we’re done here. More answers to come!

(And if you still want to ask, feel free! Just not about bodily functions and how they relate to overalls. I think I’m done writing about that. Forever.)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Answers, the fifth!

  1. Roger Owen Green says:

    I have an ex, last name Norris, and we actually talked about Norgreen.

  2. SamuraiFrog says:

    My Dad is actually still a bit bothered that my wife kept her last name. He just doesn't understand it. With him it's always "Well, whatever works for you," but he'll make sure you know how he feels before he gets there. (He still manages to work into conversations how Becca and I basically eloped after 8 years of living together and didn't invite anyone.)

  3. Earl Jones-McTyrant says:

    Hyphenating a name is, in my humble opinion, yet another desperate attempt by people who have had their culture homogenized to reconnect to their roots.

    Calvin Coolidge and his manifesto of cultural imperialism has resulted in his being enshrined at places like Princeton and thus in government philosophy.

    Travel to the far reaches of the globe and you might as well travel down the street: Abercrombie and fitch wearing, cell phone chatting, people deciding whether to attend a pop music concert or see a Hollywood made movie are driving by a big box retail stores on the outskirts of a town that is now dotted with bankrupt local stores and markets. Traditions are lost upon the sarcastic and cynical youth who want nothing more than to be like the Joneses, but ignore that fact that the Jones family are media created cyborgs.

    The loss of identity gives way to rage despondency

  4. Kelly Sedinger says:

    I'm not gonna lie: I'm not entirely sure what that meant….

  5. Call me Paul says:

    I've always objected to hyphenated names on a purely pragmatic basis. What happens when Tom Abramawitz-Stracuzzi marries Susan Tomlinson-Chenglee?

  6. Earl says:

    That was just my attempt to explain why people are incorporating the mothers name into their own. I can't help but see similarity to the creative first name movement that we saw grow over the end of last century.

    You have stated you find genealogy senseless but are obviously proud of your Irish heritage. If you we're farther removed from your roots would you still relate to them? If you couldn't would you contrive a connection so that you could feel unique, or even authentic?

  7. Kelly Sedinger says:

    Oh, see, you threw me off with the Calvin Coolidge thing. 🙂

    I wouldn't say that I find genealogy "senseless"; rather that it's not something I much concern myself with. But it is interesting to note — which you point out, and which I in all honesty have never much considered — a possible connection between my ethnic/societal roots (mostly Irish and German) and my general attraction to the cultural underpinnings of Northern European societies. That's something I may need to think a bit about…but then, on the other hand, I also feel a strong attraction to Asian cultures, and I have zero familial connection to Asia of which I am aware. Hmmmmm….

Comments are closed.