Keys to surviving a zombie apocalypse: Remember the spare glasses

Every once in awhile, my husband and I ask each other what we would miss most in the case of some apocalyptic event.  (Okay, we are usually thinking in terms of a zombie outbreak, but really, the circumstances would be basically the same in any end-of-the-world scenario.)

Imagine that the world as we know it is over.  Infrastructures we’ve all come to rely on have vanished.  There is no more Internet, no more air travel, no cellular service, no more food distribution.  There is no elected government, no military to protect us.

Plenty of so-called small details are often overlooked in our favorite zombie shows.   (You know, because they tend to focus on killing and outrunning zombies and general survival.)  I wonder about those who wear glasses or contacts, since I can’t make out more than blurry shapes without corrective lenses.

My contact lenses are meant to be worn no more than two weeks, so I wear them for about a month before tossing them for a fresh pair.  What would I do after that, in a zombie-infested land?  It’s not as if I could just stop by a Walgreen’s to pick up an unlimited supply of lenses and cleaning solution.  (Although there’s one on just about every corner, stopping by the drugstore gets much more complicated when the walking dead are on your trail.).

And what about my glasses?  I’d  be a bit better off having those on me when the world started changing, because at least those would last a year or two (unless, of course, they got broken).  With breakage presenting a very real threat, maybe we visually challenged ought to stash a few extra pairs of glasses in some strategic places…just in case.

What a crazy disadvantage it is when you can’t see.  No way to visually distinguish between zombies and people?  That would make self-defense pretty tricky.   Picking wild vegetation for consumption?  Need somebody else there for poison-checking.  Reading any reference books found?  Well, I could read one word at a time if I held it up two inches from my face.

Non-seeing, I’d be as much of a liability to my group as a pregnant woman, or someone with a broken leg.  I wonder how long Rick Grimes or Daryl Dixon would have lasted in zombie-swarmed Atlanta if they’d been worried about their bifocals. Hmm…maybe I need to invest in LASIK one of these days…

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Contentment

The ever-present quest for more, more, more is so frustrating to me.  Christmastime advertising bombards us with the message, “you need THIS” to make your Christmas perfect.  And it’s not just this time of year; it seeps into every moment, all the time.

On one hand, I feel like most of the time, my desires are fairly reasonable.  I mean, I try to look for low prices on just about everything I buy.  I get my hair highlighted, but only twice a year.  I generally try to fix meals at home rather than going out to eat.  I drive the least expensive vehicle I can drive and feel safe on the road.  I shop at resale places for baby clothes and toys, or use hand-me-downs.

On the other hand, I possess WAY more stuff than I truly need.  I could easily give away at least half of my things and get along perfectly well.

I know there are plenty of Americans who spend more extravagantly than I do in many areas. (Watching Say Yes to the Dress always makes me feel good, as it reminds me how inexpensive my wedding dress, as well as my entire wedding, was compared to those women’s.) But does that make my spending levels acceptable?  Shouldn’t I base my buying decisions on my actual needs and not on comparisons I make between myself and anyone else?

Any expense can be rationalized, right?

I need these new clothes so that I can appear professional at my job.

That vacation is the only time my family gets to be together, so it’s okay to spend more on it.

We should get these fancy dishes because we’ll be more likely to invite people over for dinner.

If we go out to dinner and a movie to unwind after a hard week at work, it’ll help us to be more productive the next week.

When do we reach the point where we finally can sit back and say, “Enough”?

some things are sacred

I hate to act like the stereotypical “old person”, constantly harping on the “good old days”, but I just have to say something.

When it comes to Christmas carols, songwriters, please leave the greats alone.

Yes, feel free to perform the classics in your own voice, with your personal style.  But please quit altering the lyrics of beloved Christmas songs. Don’t put the lyrics to “O, Come, All Ye Faithful” or “Joy to the World” with some terrible melody that you created just for the sake of so-called “originality”.  The fact that something is new does not automatically make it better (or even halfway decent).  There’s a reason so many of these songs have stood the test of time.

I’m a carol purist.  The words and the music to our yearly favorites deserve our respect.  They were intended to work together, in harmony, to convey messages about Jesus and about Christmas.  When people decide to divorce the music from the lyrics, the results are often not pretty at all.

We are creatures of habit.  We like things to remain the same as long as nothing is wrong with the original.  It’s a challenge to remake a movie or TV show or song and have it be as good as the first version.  Imagine taking on the remaking of “The Godfather” or “Gone With the Wind”.  Just listen to the myriad criticisms of the recent live broadcast of “The Sound of Music”.  Now, I’m not saying it’s okay to be so hard on poor Carrie Underwood, and I did not see this performance, so I cannot comment on its success or failure.   But some things are amazing just as they are and cannot be improved.

All I know is, I like a song as it is, which is usually the first version I’ve heard.

Changing a classically-known song detracts from the unity that song can create.  Isn’t it wonderful to be a part of a group singing along to a piece that everyone knows and loves?  We all carry our own personal memories of that song, but we can draw together in enjoyment of it.  Even secular songs hold their own sacredness.  Wouldn’t the scene in “Elf” when Jovie leads the crowd in “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” have been pretty weird if she had broken out into her own tune? (Plus, no one would have been able to sing along, which is what ends up saving Santa and Christmas!).

Using well-known lyrics but throwing them into some random musical arrangement is like putting garlic on cinnamon rolls–the just don’t go together.  It’s quite jarring to have to try and pick up a new melody at a church service or other musical event, especially one with congregational participation.  It doesn’t encourage me to enter into worship or any kind of shared experience or emotion.  If you’re going to make me get out of my comfort zone, you might as well just write an entirely new song.  It seems lazy, not refreshing, to steal the words or the music from someone else.

I’m trying to imagine that final scene from “It’s A Wonderful Life” without “Auld Lang Syne”.  Or worse–with a bubble-gum pop version sung by Justin Bieber or One Direction.  How depressing!

My high-school madrigal group always concluded our show with “Silent Night”.  Don’t even try to convince me that any remake could be more beautiful…the holiness of those moments as we fanned out, voices echoing  around the auditorium, each holding a single candle, haunts my memory to this day.

Songwriters, musicians, I implore you:  keep working at your craft.  By all means, continue to pen new music.  But be original.  If you absolutely can’t come up with an entire song without pilfering pieces from music we’ve already come to know and love…I don’t know what to say.  I guess you’d better make it good.  (Or find yourself a skilled collaborator, like Hugh Grant did in Music and Lyrics.)

I have to concede that occasionally, a good songwriter’s reworking of a classic turns out beautifully.  Please, if you have examples in mind of awesome “remakes”, whether in music, movies, or otherwise, let me know. I know I’m probably much too set in my ways…

How not to treat your wife

If this title scares you, don’t worry; this will not be a rant against my husband.  Even if I did have that sort of anger boiling up within me, this would not be the appropriate place for that discussion.

Besides, my husband could teach a lot of guys a thing or two about building a strong relationship.  I look around at other couples and think, Wow, I am so lucky!

After following The Amazing Race’s most recent season, I’ve collected some pointers for any single guy looking to get married in the near future.  Inspired by Travis, the hotshot E.R. doctor, these tips are absolutely meant to be taken seriously.

Number One: Do not get involved with your subordinate.  Nicole and Travis met when she was doing her residency under his leadership.  They apparently have never escaped that teacher-student dynamic.  She continues to see him as her superior in every way, not only in their medical careers.  This creates a ton of problems for their relationship.  During several legs of the race, she cowered under his domineering personality. If you cannot treat your partner as your equal, then perhaps you should reconsider the wisdom of the relationship.

Number Two: Do not delude yourself into believing that you are always right.  This reverts back to #1.  Yes, there are probably areas in which you will excel.  However, there are also areas in which your wife will excel.  She might even (gasp) be better than you in some areas!  For a successful relationship and marriage, it is essential that you recognize your own fallibility.  The season finale was incredibly irritating because Travis could not admit, even for a second, that occasionally he might not be perfect.  Everything that went wrong for them was her fault.

Number three: Do not verbally or emotionally abuse your wife.  Travis criticized his wife and harped so relentlessly on her shortcomings that she only became more agitated, therefore making more mistakes.  You know what, buddy?  It’s okay to get frustrated when things aren’t going your way, but it’s not okay to assume you absolutely could have done any better on a task than your wife.

Many variables can affect the outcome of each leg of the race.  Who knows?  Perhaps it was your negative attitude and not-so-subtle disparagement of your wife that actually lost you the race.  Maybe if you had tried being supportive of Nicole while she was struggling, rather than making her feel worse about it, she might have remained calmer and finished her tasks more quickly.

Single guys, look at how the winning team played: they were kind and generous to one another and even to all the other teams.  They supported one another and praised each other’s strengths rather than criticizing their weaknesses.  Nice guys don’t always finish first, but they did this time around.  By avoiding the mistakes Travis made, you could gain a wonderful, amazing marriage.

That’s worth so much more than a first-place finish in The Amazing Race.  Yep, I’d even say it’s worth much more than a million-dollar prize.