I have always made exactly three meals for dinner. Ever since I was in college, I could make a) turkey spaghetti, b) turkey tacos and c) sloppy joes (with turkey meat.) That’s it. Occasionally I can throw in a chili or a soup, but you get your basic meals with me and there’s not much more to add. Now, “they” say that if you have sit-down family dinners at least twice a week, your children will do better emotionally, physically, and educationally. Also, this meal has to include a representative from all the major food groups. And everyone has to sit down at the table, even if they are not eating. This past Monday, realizing I was about, oh, four weeks behind on the requirement that “they” told me I should do, I served up my infamous turkey tacos, cut fresh strawberries, blueberries, grapes and cucumbers and had little bowls of chips and salsa and taco toppings all ready to go. I was so proud.

It was only when I called out “Dinner!” did I realize that Craig was not home as he had a work meeting. So, I soldiered on. “They” told me I have to do this so that Lauren doesn’t have an eating disorder and so that Sam will be more emotionally stable in the future. I called to 11 year Lauren, who screamed that it was too early to eat (6:00 p.m.) and so she sat at the table and rolled her eyes and made grunting noises. 6 year old Aidan had eaten dinner on his own time, at 4:30 p.m., and was also not hungry. He refused to turn off “Spongebob Squarepants,” so we dragged him to the table where he sat there and cried very loud. I realized that I shouldn’t be eating carbs, so I opted out and had a weight loss bar instead. This made me jealous of my kids, who could sit there and eat anything they wanted without gaining weight. So then I start to resent my children. That left 13 year old Sam, who, as all boys his age, are just glad to eat anything, any time of the day, all day long. As I listed to the grunting and the crying and the loud, annoying chewing at my “emotionally supportive, educationally bonding required family meal” that “they” told me that I must serve my children, I realized something. I realized that “they” don’t know what the fuck they are talking about.

Whoever “they” are, they make all of the rules these days. They say we should watch Gotham because it’s the best show on t.v. (they also say that about “How To Get Away With Murder). They say that we should all be mad at Renee Zellweger for changing her looks. They tell us what to wear, what to eat, what is hot and what is not.

“They” are also spending a lot of time talking lately about how they can’t believe that a “homecoming prince” shot four of his friends because he was so “popular.” They want us to think that since he had the proper school titles that “they” think should make teenagers happy, then he had absolutely no other issues in the world. This is all “they” are talking about when they report this story. They haven’t really mentioned the fact that he was incredibly troubled by issues in his life, and had been previously suspended from school for a fight. They haven’t even wondered aloud as to why his parents would allow him access to a weapon when he was publicly dealing with some very upsetting emotional issues, including feeling left out and breaking up with a girlfriend.

“They” are just so proud of his social status, they don’t discuss the gun involved. Either that, or they just don’t want us to focus on that part of the story.

Who are they? Let’s be honest. We have no fucking clue who they are. Most likely they are people being paid by someone to tell you what to think and what to wear and how to view the world. “They” have their reasons and their motivations, and they also have their view of the world and what is realistic and important to them. These same things may not be as important to us. But they get their articles published online or they write their opinions in magazines or in the newspaper, and suddenly, they have created world-wide stress and anxiety and shaped all of our social views on everything. They focus on the issues that they want us to focus on. Like Zombies, we listen to what they say because they know what’s best. They know what’s the most important part of the story is, and what questions to ask. They tell us what books to read and what movies to watch; where to go on vacation, and what restaurants to avoid.

What should you do? Be your own “they.” I’m going to start trying. In my house, I have to admit that we don’t really enjoy the new “hot” t.v. shows (they are boring and confusing and ridiculously over the top and they put Viola Davis in unflattering clothing for no reason.) We try to have healthy dinners together, but only when it works out for everyone. Most of the time, we just do what we do to get through the day, even if that includes eating in shifts or eating on the way home from an activity that ends at 7:00 p.m., or ordering in from Pei Wei for the fifth time that month. The important thing is that we make time to connect with each other each day, in any way we can, even if it’s just sitting in bed and talking. I try not to judge celebrities for trying to look better, because I know that no matter what celebrities, or even politicians do, someone out there will criticize them. I know I’m not putting myself out there in a way where I could be subject to scrutiny, so I’m not going to try to constantly criticize those who do.

And finally, I believe that leaving children with unlimited access to guns is a daily problem in our country. Sometimes I take a running poll of how many kids used guns to kill other kids that week vs the amount of people who used their guns to successfully defend their homes against dangerous criminals. If you do the same, you will find that you will have tons of check marks on one side, and none on the other side.

I’m going to try each day to live my life by my own rules and beliefs and not to listen to “them” all of the time. I’m going to explore things and form my own conclusions. I’ll decide what’s best.

Because like many people that I have met over the years, I have realized that “they” are opinionated and annoy the shit out of me, and I don’t really have time for them anymore.


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