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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Big Bird and Staying Off Message

It’s been an off-message week.

When a bunch of information is flying at you it’s hard to discriminate between what is important and what is not. When verbal attacks, lies, and misrepresentations become mixed up and woven together, how do you pick a correct, singular message to respond with?

            Sometimes, you don’t.

            Case in point: Obama. He tried to make last week’s debate about Big Bird. He thought he could switch the focus and get a bunch of moms worked up over the loss of Sesame Street and other PBS Kids television shows. I love PBS and I love Obama, but his strategy was lost, even on me.

            Another case in point: My husband. After a disastrous phone call where I all but accused him of cheating on me, he became defensive and mean. Then, when I lashed out, he hung up on me. Did he call and apologize? No. Did he, in any way, address what had happened? No. Instead, he sent me this email:


The filter on the furnace needs to be changed. Sorry I didn’t think of it before I left; if I had I would have changed it myself. The filters are downstairs by the furnace. Please change it tonight – I just hate to think about you and the kids breathing in dirty air.

I attached my flight info. Looking forward to seeing you.

      It was the last thing I expected. Of all the things for him to be worried about, he chose the furnace. So I called, got his voice mail, hung up, and sent an email instead.


Seriously? The furnace? Can you think of any other pressing issues that need addressing, like say, our marriage?

            He wrote back.


The side effects from Primaquine and Chloroquine never went away. I’m still nauseous a lot of the time, plus I don’t sleep well and I’ve been in a bad mood for most of the last six weeks. If you want to talk about our marriage, fine, but I want to do it face to face. PLEASE be the one to pick me up at the airport, and please be alone. I want five minutes with you before we’re surrounded.

I love you.


           So I looked it up, and the side effects of these anti-malarial drugs actually do include nausea, anxiety, and nightmares.

Which made me more worried than I was angry at him, which was exactly opposite of how I wanted to feel. I’d been holding onto my anger with tenacity, like it was something I’d worked hard for and desperately deserved. And for the record, I don’t think he was actually cheating on me just because Brook called him Montgomery while they were standing in line for a shower. That doesn’t stop me from feeling jealous and slightly sick over their casual intimacy.

And for the record, I don’t think Obama has blown the election just because he had one bad debate. That doesn’t stop me from feeling a flattened sense of panic every time a new poll comes out.

The news cycle needs to change, and a clear, concise message has to be sent. I just hope it’s the right message, and that it’s delivered to a receptive pair of ears.


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