Put me in, coach!

By Lisa Sugarman|More Content Now

I want to ask you something. But I need an honest answer. No blowing sunshine, okay? I want you to be completely straight with me.

In your opinion, do you think I deserve a shot at solving the world’s peace problems?

Now hang on. Don’t just blurt out your answer. Take a minute to think about it first. And while you’re thinking, I’ll explain why I think I’m at least as qualified as anyone else out there who’s already tried. Maybe even more so. Then you can decide if you think I deserve a chance.

I’m asking because I’ve been watching all the war and killing and finger pointing going on in the world lately and frankly, as a card-carrying member of Mankind, I’m just plain tired of it. And I think I’ve got a simple solution that will calm everybody down and diffuse all the drama.

That’s because, at least in my opinion, war is little more than a glorified pissing contest. And who better to break up a pissing contest than someone who doesn’t even have the right body parts to enter one in the first place.

Now don’t go getting all offended, thinking that I’m making light of war, because I most certainly am not. What I am saying is that war is unnecessary and I’m dumbfounded that the people running the world haven’t figured that out yet. So make no mistake, even though my seriousness may be ever so slightly veiled in humor, doesn’t mean I’m making light of it. Because I’m not. I’m just breaking it down into simple terms.

I mean, I can’t be the only one out here who’s noticed that people just keep fighting over the same things? Can I? They argue about religion, property and freedom. And the ironic thing is, I’m pretty sure there’s enough of everything to go around. People just have to be reminded to quit hogging stuff. And who better to remind them than a mom. And since I’m a mom, why not me?

I want you to think back to the origins of human conflict and conflict resolution. I’m talking Neanderthal Era, when people really started arguing over stuff. Granted, it was pretty basic stuff like clubs and spears and loin cloths, but conflict is conflict. Now, think about who was there at the center of these original conflicts. I’ll tell you who. Moms. The first mediators in history. Look it up. Moms like me. Moms like you. Doing what moms have done since the beginning of time. Mediate.

It was the cavemom who dished out the first generation of time-outs and consequences and made sure everybody played nice. And I’ll bet that aside from living with the constant fear of being trampled and eaten alive and starving or freezing to death, everybody got along great back then. And you know why? Because moms were the peacekeepers.

Then, somehow, moms lost their grip on Mankind. I’m not exactly sure how, but they did. Too many kids running around, maybe.

Look, all I’m saying is that mothers have been proven mediators since the dawn of time and I feel like one of us should just step in and offer to straighten out the world’s chaos once and for all. I’m actually shocked it hasn’t happened up to now. I mean what world leader would say “no” to a mom when she said play nice? It just wouldn’t happen. One strategically-placed furrowed brow and a precisely-timed sigh and any head of state or world leader would be Jell-O. Because remember, adults are just overgrown kids.

Just because the stuff people fight about in the modern world has evolved, doesn’t mean it isn’t basically the same stuff we fought about a 200,000 years ago when moms were the original referees. Territory. Relationships. Religion. Property. Those were the original problems and they’re still the problem today.

See, somewhere along the line, most of these overgrown kids out there causing all these conflicts had moms. And most of them wouldn’t be caught dead disobeying her. So the way I see it, I just need to get everybody in a room, maybe strip them all down to their underwear just to level the playing field, and then remind them that we all just have to get along. And I’m not opposed to playing dirty if I have to by waving a little guilt around the room. Oh, I’ll do it!

So back to my original question. Do you think I deserve at least a chance to get the job done? And if you do, maybe you know somebody and you can make a call and we can pull together a quick summit meeting so I can give out the appropriate time-outs and consequences. Then we can all move on and live in peace. It shouldn’t take long. Just private message me on Facebook and we can get things rolling. My schedule is pretty flexible.

Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at itiswhatitiscolumn.wordpress.com. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com.




Road trip!


By Lisa Sugarman

When my alarm went off at 4AM last Monday, there was little consolation for my eyes burning and having to get out of bed before the entire rest of the world, except for the fact that it was Road Trip Day. And on Road Trip Day, I’ll do whatever it takes to get myself into that car and onto that asphalt. Because a road trip, for me, is just about the end-all-be-all. Always has been.

I love the gasoleeny smell of the rest stops, the vending machines with travel-sized Bonine (thousands of them!), crappy rest-stop coffee, Satellite Radio, making the eighteen-wheeler dudes honk their horn. All of it. I know, I’m pathetically easy to please.

This time we happened to be driving from Boston to New York. It wasn’t the 500 sexy miles along the pacific coast highway, zigzagging from Baja to the tip of the Olympic peninsula. This was just the Mass Pike to the Merit Parkway. People confuse that for the PCH all the time, though, right?

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved the idea of getting in the car and just going. And it never mattered where or how far, as long as we were going somewhere. I just love that feeling of being transported. And while I’ve always enjoyed the thrill of getting on a plane in one place and getting off somewhere else altogether, I still prefer driving when I can. Because when you’re in a car and you pass a place that somehow calls to you to pull in, you almost always have the ability to hit the brakes, bang a uey, and explore. And since banging a euy in a 747 gets the FAA involved, it’s pretty much off the table.

I can’t tell you how many farm stands and antique shops we’ve pulled into over the years. Places we definitely would’ve missed if we were flying over them at 30,000 feet. My poor patient little family humors me a lot. A real lot. I mean, I can’t tell you how much local knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years just by going off the grid when we’re on the road. We’ve found the best Mom & Pop restaurants and shops and boutiquey type places you’d just never find unless you knew they were there.

I also just love the compactness of having everything you need right there with you in one little space, with only the obvious exception of a toilet. Not to mention having the flexibility to change direction whenever you get the impulse. And I haven’t even mentioned the maps! The crispness of them and the way they can only be folded one way. Pure joy to me. To this day I have a very hard time giving in and using a GPS. They’re just so artificial and intrusive. In 1 mile, you will turn right. In a half mile, you will turn right. In a quarter mile, you will turn right. In 300 feet, you will turn right. In 50 feet, you will turn right. In about a second, you will turn right. You’re turning right. You’ve just turned right. I honestly can’t take it. Makes me want to lop my own head off.

Thinking back, though, I’m sure that having a dad who raced cars as a hobby helped. His influence and passion for everything that had to do with cars infused me at a super early age with a love of driving and being on the road and the excitement of finding my way. I mean, didn’t every second-grade girl know how to unscrew an oil filter and drain the pan? I mean, I learned that the same time I learned how to ride a two-wheeler. I honestly thought it was normal.

I know all of this sounds suspiciously like an ad for Airstream, but the truth is, being able to travel around in a way that allows me to stop and really absorb the flavor and texture of what’s around me is actually one of my dreams. My friend Jim and his wife Alison just did it for like four months and the experience changed their life. I’m giddy thinking about springing that on Dave when it’s time for us to retire. (Don’t tell him, ok. I want it to be a surprise.)

Can’t you just picture it? Driving off into the glow of retirement with my head out the window and my tongue flapping against my cheek. Heaven. Pure heaven. I can’t wait.

Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItisWhatitisColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com.


You’ve just been deputized


By Lisa Sugarman

People often ask me how I come up with something different to write about every week without being redundant. And my answer is almost always the same. Somehow, even when I’m completely void of ideas, something always seems to present itself to me in a way that I know, unmistakably, that it’s what I’m supposed to write about.

Take this week, for example.

I’m in this diner in central Vermont, killing time before I pick up my daughter from cross country running camp (yes, she actually goes to a camp for running), when it dawns on me that my column deadline is creeping up and I’m idealess.

I’m sitting alone at my table, dredging my brain for ideas and on the verge of pulling out my notebook where I keep my super-secret list of possible columns, when I get a clear and obvious sign from the Powers That Be, showing me exactly what I should be writing about. And the sign was pointing and flashing at the woman sitting directly across from me.

She was at a table with six young kids, raising her voice and snapping pretty consistently at each of them. Why, I had no idea. Now I couldn’t tell if these were her kids or if she was maybe just their camp counselor getting them lunch. Either way it didn’t matter because she was clearly responsible for them in one way or another. And it was very obvious to me, and the few other people sitting nearby, that this chick was losing her temper fast and things were about to get ugly.

The bizarre thing was, I had no idea why she was getting annoyed. The kids, who ranged in age from an infant in a bucket carrier to around twelve, were being absolutely model little citizens. There was no horsing around, everyone was quiet and well behaved, and had I not been absentmindedly staring in their direction, I would never have even realized there were a bunch of kids nearby.

But as soon as I heard the woman’s sharp and edgy voice, I immediately started fake typing and fully engaged myself in what was going on at her table. And ok, although I was getting a little concerned about the tone of this woman’s voice, I was also being ever so slightly nosey. It was pretty clear, though, that someone was about to get smacked.

See, historically speaking, I happen to have an extremely low tolerance for idiots, especially idiots who pick on little kids. But as Dave so often reminds me, there are a lot of crazies out there who wouldn’t hesitate to skin me alive and go Charlie Manson on me for butting into their business. So I’ve learned to react to the idiots of the world by keeping a healthy distance and engaging only when absolutely necessary.

In this case, I just deputized myself with a mission of watching her without her knowing she was being watched. Not that I could do all that much, but at the very least I wanted to make sure no one got backhanded in the face. At least not on my watch.

I surveilled as she stood up and started ranting about how she’d never take any of them into a public place like this EVER again. I saw her grab, one by one, all the little kiddie-size milkshakes out of everyone’s hands and jam them into the trash can. I listened as she muttered to all of them how terrible they were being. And maybe they were being ornery without me seeing, but they’re kids.

And then she saw me.

She caught me watching her. And that’s when she froze. Yeah, that’s right, biatch, I see what you’re doing, so back off! Our eyes locked and I stared her down like someone does when they’re training a dog and they need to make the dog look away first to prove who’s in charge. Needless to say, she looked away first. Then she shooed all the kids straight out the door, telling me to mind my business under her breath as she passed my table.

I never took my eyes off her, though, until she drove out of the parking lot and out of sight.

The moral here is two-fold. First, having or caring for kids is a privilege, not a right. But unfortunately, not everyone realizes that. And second, there are a-holes out there who think nothing of intimidating and bullying little kids, at least until someone calls them out on it or stares them down.

And while we all can’t be guardians of the world twenty-four hours a day, we can do our best to keep our eyes and ears open and help where we can. Because sometimes a little Dog Whisperer stare is all it takes. So consider yourself deputized.

Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItisWhatitisColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com and at Spirit of ’76 Bookstore.

Confessions of a Psychotic Housewife gives LIFE: It Is What It Is the thumbs up!

Gothic Martha Stewart/blogger/Internet reviewer, The Psychotic Housewife, just reviewed LIFE: It Is What It Is. Click her link below to read the full review…