Friday, August 8, 2014

Happy Birthday, mom! I hope it's not ratchet.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!! I miss you! Hope you have a lovely day in Wisconsin with adequate rest and photo-worthy sights. I bet Otis and Etta are planning on giving you a fur coat for your birthday. Oops… spoiler alert!!

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Mom has an awesome blog called Learning To Walk With Jesus. I encourage everyone to visit.
We've all heard people say "I found Jesus". […] It could be argued that at the very core of this phrase is our need to feel self directed. It is true that God gave us free will, we can chose to follow Christ or we can chose to turn away. Sometimes, in our knowledge of our right to free will, we feel so full of self importance that we seem to feel that the existence of God is dependent on our belief.  
--Mom, February 25, 2014--
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Mom also has a public Facebook page which I like to call The Memery. She's becoming quite a photographer, mostly with only a cell phone camera.

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Mom always had my back in college.

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Tuesday night I met with a detainee for prison ministry and told him about my experience at the blood drive that afternoon. I was sitting in the cluster of chairs with a bunch of older men in button down shirts, relaxing while our blood bags filled. The team of phlebotomists were listing to their choice of playlist, as usual, and this time it was a bunch of rap songs. I'm not a big rap fan but was happy to have them listen to their music until I heard a totally wretched song that seemed to be called Let's Have Crazy Sex. At least that's the only sentence I picked out. The rest of the 'lyrics' seemed to be a series of adjectives describing the proposed activity. I'm not sure about the title because I refuse to look up the song, as I hope to avoid hearing it ever again. This was a public place and there was nothing stopping a parent from bringing a young child into the waiting area during the drive! The detainee and I talked about integrity and having an undivided heart, being the same person in any company. If I'm on my best behavior around children, or any individual, then why shouldn't I share the best of me with everyone else? Surely they deserve the same respect a child does. And why do we protect the young while at the same time gradually shepherding them into a life of crassness and profanity?

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Everybody remember animated GIFs? Sorry, this could get pretty annoying.

My blood drive story was almost derailed when I said "this wretched song". The detainee started laughing and said, "I've never heard you say ratchet before! That's so funny." Confused, I wondered if this was some Baltimore area way of saying wretched and why the word was funny. Maybe my pronunciation made it funny? Then he said, "Once my little brother asked me what ratchet means and my grandmother said, 'It's a tool.' And I said, 'Get out of here!' He's too young and she's too old to know what it means." Then he laughed some more. It started to dawn on me that ratchet could be some street slang and wondered what I had apparently said. I decided to go along with it rather than make matters worse by getting into a discussion about ratchet, which could mean anything as far as I knew. 

A little internet research brings up a Chicago Sun Times article suggesting that ratchet is just an Ebonics version of wretched. However, the blogger at took offense at the article, saying that the use of the slang ratchet started in Louisiana in 1999 in a rap song about a dance with the same name. He says: "In the original music video for 'Do Da Ratchet' you can see clubgoers and others doing the ratchet dance, and moving their arms in circular ratcheting motions. And true to the dance term’s double meaning as something hood or ghetto, at the 1:24 mark in the video you can see what appears to be a pregnant woman holding a bottle of beer as she dances in the club." I'll spare you the link.

I guess I was calling the Red Cross employees' music ghetto, so I'll take a moment right now to thank the Holy Spirit for working in that situation so that this detainee was amused rather than ticked off--especially when I accidentally said wretched a second time later! (And yes, I realize now that probably everyone else in the world already knows this word, what with people like Miley Cyrus using it.)

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Last week I felt the beginning of a sore throat on Sunday night and it was in full force on Monday. I called in sick from work and tried a concoction (see picture) that was sure to miraculously cure me. After gargling nine times with this stuff my throat did hurt a little bit less, but kind of in the way that it goes numb after the extreme pain of gargling with Listerine. The next day my throat was still sore but since it was my only symptom other than moderate congestion (and I had probably been miraculously cured) I went back to work and continued to drink tea with Bragg's apple cider vinegar and raw honey.

At some point it became clear to me that I was not miraculously cured and, unwilling to accept the fact that the concoction didn't work, I panicked that the raw honey was causing some allergic reaction in my throat. There was some logic to this, since raw honey contains pollen and this honey was produced by local bees and could conceivably contain pollen from the plants that cause my seasonal allergies. However, further internet research revealed that some people eat local raw honey as a means of curing their seasonal allergies without provoking them. (Cool! Another thing to try next spring.)

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On Wednesday I faced the fact that I was just not getting better and stayed home from work again. For the rest of the week I dutifully drank my Throat Comfort tea with vinegar and honey. At times I worried that I might have strep throat, but since I don't have tonsils and haven't known anyone (including me) who has had it in decades it seemed unlikely. Besides, my friend Carl (who may or may not be a medical doctor, I've never asked) took a look at my throat and ruled out strep. But my hypochondria was somewhat relieved when I started to develop a weak cough, and my nose briefly ran (for a few seconds) suggesting I had some nasty post-nasal drip going on. BUT GET THIS: Apparently some doctors don't even believe in post-nasal drip as a medical condition. COME ON DOCTORS!! Let's get the story straight.

Anyway, the happy conclusion is that my symptoms never got worse than that wretched sore throat and I was back to work by Thursday. Miracle cure? No. Powerful treatment? Possibly. Note: after drinking the concoction rinse your teeth with water to keep the vinegar from wrecking your tooth enamel. You probably don't want to brush your teeth right after drinking it either, for the same reason.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. Just stumbled across your blog. Thanks for the insights & funny anecdotes! :)


    1. Thanks for stopping by, James! Glad you found some things you like. :o)