Monday, September 28, 2009

They're Even Mean to Crazy Aunt Purl!

Do you read "Crazy Aunt Purl"? Well, why not? She's certifiably nuts in a good way. Oops! Shouldn't have said "nuts." It could get someone angry.

Anyway, I was going to write something here about what other bloggers and op-ed writers are calling "the decline of civility" or "why can't we just all get along? or "is everyone here crazy?" You know what I mean--people screaming at the president in public and cursing each other out in the parking lot over a space near the mall entrance,  or ... well, you get the idea. 

Now, I'll admit I was one of the first to criticize our former president, The Shrub. But I did it quietly and in private and if I'd been introduced to him in person I'd have shaken his hand firmly and politely and said "nice to meet you, Mr. President," and I wouldn't even have muttered under my breath until he was out of earshot.

Because that's how we were raised. Let's face it--we all want to say things sometimes that we DO NOT SAY because that's not the way we roll. We were raised better than that. (Thanks, Mom!) We might say "that poor fellow is one toenail short of a pedicure" behind our boss's back, but, in front of the guy, we pull up our big girl panties and do what he says. Then we report him to Human Resources if appropriate. (That was a heck of a mixed metaphor but you get the message.)

I guess it's a combination of the immediacy and the anonymity of the internet that  have made us all think we can say absolutely anything to anyone and it'll be okay. (And people--when you're not on the internet, you really don't have an excuse!)  People who would never say something mean to someone's face think nothing of saying it on a blog. Is it because we know the person we're insulting is probably too far away to hit us? Maybe.

Back to Crazy Aunt Purl. Check out her September 24 post. The offending comments have been removed but I think we can all guess what they contained. She wrote a pretty innocuous but interesting posting about pot roast and added a comment about a potluck the next day and needing a peanut recipe. And bam, bam, shazaam, she's suddenly the Anti-Christ, trying to kill off all the peanut-allergic folks in the audience.

This whole peanut thing is odd anyway. One day peanuts are mild, inoffensive little critters growing in the Deep South, best known for Jimmy Carter raising them. Now they're in the same category as Ebola and Angry Aliens From Space, just out there trying to kill people.

Okay, I get it. Some people are allergic to peanuts. Children in kindergarten should not be fed peanuts because they're too little to protect themselves. Grownups should make sure they read labels and ask about potluck recipes if it's possible a peanut was involved. I'm not downplaying the danger.

But ... and this is important ... we all have stuff we shouldn't be eating for one reason or another. You can't eat a peanut because your throat might close up. Coconut makes me gag and I shouldn't eat ice cream because lactose at night gives me acid reflux, not to mention bigger hips. But at the end of day ... it's my problem, and yours.  I'm definitely not going to blame Crazy Aunt Purl if someone brings ice cream to the party.  

And I am going to try her pot roast recipe.


The Knifty Knitter said...

I guess I shouldn't mention that I feed Skittles and Nestle Crunch bars to 7 year olds for fear I will be labeled an attempted murderess.

I think the bigger crime is that I bribe the kids with these items in exchange for 15 minutes of silent work time where someone isn't ripping a book, standing on their chair, or trying to put a booger on someone else.

Diana said...

OMG! Secrets of an elementary school teacher ... so now we know how it's really done!

Paula said...

Hear, hear!