Life is About Addition. Not Subtraction.

Yes, I used mathematical terms in the title of this piece.  No, that does not mean I have wavered in my view that math is the devil’s language.  However, I have learned something interesting this past year of my life.  Or should I say remembered.  The first time I learned it I was in elementary school.

I always loved addition.  Carrying those ones, discovering the sum, finding satisfaction in the increase.  It felt like I was going somewhere.  That was thrilling.  I hated subtraction.  The method was just more complicated.  Scanning from right to left, invariably you had to borrow and take away.  Just like robbing Peter to pay Paul, you knew at some point, down the line, you were going to have pay the piper.  As the numbers grew bigger, it just became harder for me to keep up.  In fact, the only thing I liked about subtraction was checking my work with . . . yep, you guessed it . . . addition.

It is easy, as we grow older, to see life as a relentless game of subtraction . . . one that leaves us with a less than desirable difference.  As our chronological age increases, the things we lose become more and more evident.  Dexterity, flexibility and physical prowess retreat.  The 40’s squint kicks in as you realize the words on that page three inches from your face aren’t as clear as they were yesterday.  Hairlines recede, skin dries and cracks, hormones diminish leaving you a sweaty, angry mess.  Our families spread out. Children leave for college or for life.  Good friends accept promotions across the country.  Neighbors sell their homes.  We live paycheck to paycheck, playing beat the bank with mortgage payments and school tuition checks.  We watch some relationships disintegrate; alienation doesn’t knock on the door.  It simply moves in.  We sit with our loved ones on their death beds.  We hold their hands.  We sing them away.  We ache.  Time gets small.  And oh, how we feel the irony when we realize that the only thing in our lives that is increasing is our waistlines.

I made a giant move in my life this year.  I left a place of employment I loved and cherished for the better part of my adult life for another.  And it was scary.  And it hurt.  Really badly.  The only thing I can tell you is that the decision I made that seemed to be a divine appointment initially only felt like a profound loss.  I didn’t get it.  God was moving in my life, and yet it felt like I was dying.  And then one day I wasn’t.  I looked up and saw the power of addition.  Unfamiliar faces have become more than just familiar.  They have become friends.  An early carpool commute brings with it cherished companionship and spontaneous hilarity.  My students of old have become folk heroes to my new crew.  They routinely ask me for stories.  And as tales starring Meatball, Horton Haven, flying snakes, strange chapel speakers and A102 spill out, I find myself calculating a most exquisitely beautiful sum.  All of those soul ties that I thought I was breaking?  I was just bringing them with me.  And the people who have loved me through it all?  Well, they still do.  God was just asking me to die to an idol I had created in my own image so that He could give me more than I knew how to ask for.  That’s how dumb I am.  That’s how good He is.

I don’t know what you are busy calculating in your life.  But I encourage you to use the plus sign.  I think you will find the total an overwhelmingly gracious and undeserved gift.

 

Pinterest: The Downfall of Modern Motherhood

Pinterest, I hate you.  Sincerely.  If there were ever a threat to my status as a respectable mother, this “social curation” is certainly it.  You see, I work.  Both inside and outside the home.  That doesn’t make me special or somehow better.  It just makes me really busy.  However, no matter how busy I might be, that intrinsic drive in the soul of every woman to be mom of the year is always there; rearing its ugly head at all times of the school calendar: birthday parties, Thanksgiving luncheons, Easter celebrations, teacher appreciation week, Christmas pageants, field trips . . . you get it.  We all want to pack the best lunch, provide the hippest snack.  I don’t care who you are.  At one time or another on our parenting journey, we all have wanted to be “that” mom.

Before Pinterest, “that” mom was mortal.  Her blood ran red.  However, she never had night sweats.  She never applied the searing pressure of “the claw” on her child’s cheeks right before walking into a social situation.   Her hormones have been and will always be perfectly balanced.  Despite her lack of menopausal symptoms and aberrant fits of rage, she was more like one of us.  Normal.  She sometimes took her children to school without make-up . . . in sweats.  She packed nutritious lunches in brown paper bags and added her special spice by including a sweet note, reminding young Timmy or sweet Sarah that they were loved to the moon and back.  She volunteered to be room mom, coordinated events, provided transportation . . . all the kinds of things we all wish we had the organizational skills to pull off.  At class parties, she looked put together, unstressed, and petted her generally well-behaved, compliant child on the head as he or she moved judiciously throughout the room spreading good cheer to all the other students.

Pinterest mom is another animal altogether.  She has made a new category of parental perfection that is virtually impossible to achieve.  I bring seasonal Double Stuf Oreos to class parties.  I usually pick them up the morning of said event and deliver them through my child still in the bag from Kroger.  Pinterest mom created a board for the class Christmas party in April.  She has been posting “cutsie” ideas for the food buffet and gift exchange from all over the world, taking note of color schemes, organizing paint swatches for the table cloth and crafting a life sized Christmas tree with only deco-mesh ribbon, zip ties, and a tomato cage.

Pinterest mom sends a gluten free snack in bio-degradable packaging.  I’m not even sure if the Cheeto’s Cheese Puffs I send with my child are bio-degradable.  For lunch, Pinterest mom has sent sandwiches in the shape of the child’s monogram, fruit and veggies with hummus, and water filtered with indigenous moss into a stainless steel, BPA free water bottle with a retractable top.  She also included a Valentine’s heart napkin and a hand crocheted cardigan, a design she found on Crochetholic’s Pinterest board,  just because she had extras and the classroom might get cold.  I sometimes send my child to school with a Lunchable (I just heard the Internet gasp), but more often than not, he eats a “hot lunch” (code for I didn’t have time to pack him a Lunchable).

Pinterest mom looks good in yoga pants, works out in a fake gym with light bulbs that tan you without dangerous UV radiation.  She made them by hand with tiny crystals she harvested in the diamond mines of Sierra Leone.  Her house looks like a photograph from an interior design magazine and her custom built-ins under the staircase double both as a children’s playroom and as a command center for her Pinterest empire.  Most importantly, she has a label maker, and she knows how to use it.  My house looks like an episode of Hoarders meets F-5 tornado.

So, what are we less than average moms to do in a world where Pinterest makes ideas more accessible than hours in a day to bring them to fruition?  Well, as for me, I’m off to Kroger.  Halloween Double Stuf Oreos are half price this week.

 

I Need a Sister Wife

I’ve always been interested in the idea of the sister wife. No, I’m not a Mormon. No, I’m not advocating polygamy. No, I’m not needing a psychiatric evaluation. I am just simply pondering the idea of having an extra set of eyes and an extra set of hands to help accomplish the daily mundane tasks of life.  The mundane that can quickly pile up and paralyze.

We apple sauce-stained, sleep-deprived, zombie-like females are some of the most over worked, under appreciated humans on the planet.  We command a vast battalion of men and women, some under four foot tall with minds and wills of their own, on a daily basis.  We make beds, and we make lunches.  We clean dirty bodies, and we clean dirty houses.  We work mind numbing hours at actual work, and then come home to an entirely different sort of to do list.  We bandage knees.  We mend broken hearts.  We remove unidentifiable stains in hard to reach places.  We birth actual human beings like a scene from an alien movie.  And then we forget about it like it was a bad case of the flu.  We are the central command center for all the parts of this life that make it worth living.  Yes, we are that important.

Now, with all of that on our plates and more, every one of us could use a helping hand.  And that’s where the sister wife idea comes into focus.  We all have a good friend. A best friend even. One you can call at 4:30 in the morning with your worst news. But your BFF never says to you, “Call me with your worst news anytime day or night, AND I’ll come over and mop your floors while I listen.” No mere friend would agree to that arrangement. Oh, sure, those best friends we have, they have some long suffering ears, and boy, am I grateful, but sometimes I just need a friend who likes to sweep under refrigerators, preferably mine. Where is the line for that type of friend??  Exactly, they don’t exist.

Now I’m not ignoring the fact that having a sister wife would make things super awkward and strangely complicated at home, but I am saying that binding someone to your family in a semi-legal, semi-religious sort of way would commit said sister wife to the menial tasks that you hate the most, especially since she came second. She couldn’t opt out of laundry duty just because she felt like it or because friends don’t do that kind of thing.  Instead, you would be able to divide up all the household chores with her based on your least favorite tasks:

1. A home-cooked meal after a long day of work?  Sister wife.
2. Ironing clothes? Sister wife.
3. Spring cleaning? Sister wife.
4. Toilets in a house full of boys? Yes, definitely toilets. Sorry, sister wife.
5. Can’t finish grading that last set of research papers? No worries. Sister wife has a degree in English.

Now, I’ve thought long and hard about this. A sister wife could diffuse those tense stand-offs that happen from time to time in marriage. Imagine this. Wife loves Double Stuf Oreos.  Husband does too, usually as a late night snack. Sense her frustration level when wife finds the stay fresh seal only partially closed overnight, leaving her chocolate therapy hard and stale. A small marital spat erupts. This time, sister wife steps in with a calm, matronly tone while producing a new package of Double Stuf Oreos she picked up while doing the weekly grocery run. And what about when your child has inexplicably said your name 420 times in the past five minutes, and you can feel Space Shuttle Crazy Eyes is a go for launch, but just in the nick of time, sister wife enters with an even tone, “Yes, child. I can help you. Now, leave your mother alone for a little while. She needs to finish her spa treatment and bubble bath in peace.” Can you see it?

When you strip away all the negative cultural ideas about this practice, we women all know somewhere down deep inside that we would be better at being us with the help of a sister wife. We may have even conjured her in our minds. Mine is an older, sweet grandmotherly type. She possesses qualities that are a cross between the common sense of Alice on Brady Bunch and the street smarts of Mrs. Garret from Facts of Life.  Sprinkle in a touch of Aunt Bee’s culinary skills and a dash of her Southern charm minus the busybody.  There she is, ladies.  Can you see her?  Her name is Rhonda. And she comes complete with her own room off the garage.

I Just Don’t Understand

Yesterday, I taught the Class of 2015 John Donne’s “Meditation 17.” As I read those words, “No man is an island entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main,” I scanned my classroom. Some eyes shone knowingly, reflecting a shared understanding. Life has already been difficult. Others, open to accepting the wisdom written centuries ago, are blissfully unaware of what the road holds ahead. And no matter how much I want to, I can’t shield them from it. Still others, hoping to insulate themselves from any knowledge . . . at all, secretly work on breaking their record in Crossy Roads or check the latest “news” on Twitter. And you know what, all of those responses are appropriate. We’ve all been 17.

“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

I have tried in my life to understand why pain seems so prevalent. Why people that I care about suffer and hurt and face rejection. I have cursed it, spiritualized it, philosophized it, repressed it, even attempting, at times to ignore it. And yet, life moves forward and people I care about continue to find themselves in dark valleys, facing uphill climbs and wrestling with destiny. And I have come to an amazingly intellectual conclusion. I just don’t understand.

I know all of those things that might be filling your brain in this moment. There is a God. He is good. He works things for the good of those who trust Him with their hearts and their lives. He is close to the broken hearted. He binds up our wounds. He brings beauty from ashes. Pain teaches permanently. “Without contraries, there is no progression.” I got it. I also know the verses that accompany these truths. I have read them. I have memorized them. I have written them in emails, text messages and neatly tucked them inside cards of condolence. I got it. I just don’t understand.

And life carries on. And we do too. We carry on. And when one of those dark places emerges in the path, we simply show up. We sit beside our friends in the hospital, in the counselor’s office, in the church service, in the coffee shop. We put groceries on their doorstep. We hold their hands and we cook them dinner. We cry with them, we stand with them, and when they cannot go on, we go on for them. We stop talking and we start listening. We don’t make things okay. We aren’t in charge of that. The One who does understand, well, He is.

No, I just don’t understand. And that’s okay. Because I don’t have to. Not understanding is not the same thing as not trusting or not hoping. Not understanding is a simple admission that I will embrace my shared humanity and come alongside those who also don’t understand . . . until that day when all dark things will be burned away by the never ending light. We will know as we are fully known. But for now, we don’t. We just don’t understand.

Snow Day

I need a Snow Day.  Like a real snow falling from the sky, stacking up on the ground, sled worthy Snow Day.  Badly.  And yes, I capitalized “Snow Day” like it is a recognized national holiday.  Because in the world of education, it is.  In fact, snow days are the currency that fuel the economy of the long dark winter.  With no snow days comes the Great Depression.

Admittedly, I look forward to snow days more than the students I teach.  And, no, it is not because I hate my job, dislike kids, or endorse laziness.  Quite the contrary.   What I do like is unexpectedly sleeping in, waking up to a cup of coffee and leisurely catching up on morning television.  What I do like are the squeals of delight from my son when he realizes that a day of snowmen and sledding are ahead of him.  What I do like is when time stands still, and we are all forced to simply stop, putting those seemingly important tasks aside for the moment.  I like getting paid in my pajamas.

I can endure all of the negative stereotypes of the South in the snow.  The “bread and milk” dash, the quick calls from school boards just for a threat of inclement weather or an arctic blast of cold temperatures, the “mostly rainish” snow day call, the bus won’t start day, the pipe burst day, the electricity is out and we can’t feed the kiddies day, and the flash flood day are all okay with me.  I have no concern for those above the Mason Dixon Line who scoff at our inability to handle an act of God.  I didn’t choose to live in a place where the infrastructure is prepared for the advent of bad weather.  I live in Tennessee.  We know how to handle tailgate parties, country music festivals and blazing summer temps.    I positioned myself strategically in between a part of our country that embraces the cold snowy weather nine months out the year, and a part of the geography where snow is a statistical improbability.  I’m no dummy.

And for all of you sitting in your corner office on a snow day with a business as usual attitude, please leave your negative opinions and comments at the water cooler.  We know you don’t want our jobs.  You just want our vacations.

So, for now, I can hope and I can pray.  I can read the Farmer’s Almanac, analyze the cloud formations, and endure the inaccuracies of our local meteorologists.  I can put my pajamas on backwards, flush ice cubes down the toilet, and dance a jig before bedtime.  I can do it all in the hopes of that one early morning text message with the two words all teachers secretly add to their contracts each year:  SNOW DAY.

Good News

And darkness covered the deep.

The very air, heavy with anticipation, wages war with the earth’s atmosphere, holding the miraculous at bay, just for a few more moments. This fallen planet lowers its head in defeat. No end to human conflict. No answer for pain. Lions still hunt their prey. Serpents still sting. Defenseless. Destitute. Humankind forever subject to the gravitational pull on both body and soul, the death grip of sin constricting the spirit, holding hope hostage. Then, not too suddenly, the sibilant breath of angels’ wings whispers throughout the galaxies as the providential appointment with destiny arrives. The earth’s orbit shatters with the intensity of the spirit realm; the ground shifts in cataclysmic pulsations. Humanity shudders at the sudden collision. Eyes guarded against an unearthly light; faces bowed to the ground in utter submission. This is like no other experience in the realm of mortality. There are no words to frame this visitation. Only fight or flight. Breath quickens, pulses race . . . death, it is most certainly upon us.

“Fear not.”
“Fear not.”
“Fear not,” echoes through the universe, bringing a momentary cessation to sheer panic.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news. . .
“Good news.”
“Good news.”

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be to all people.” The angel, in one proclamation erases all memory of pain and death from the whole of human history. In every land, in every tongue . . . all nations and tribes . . . from one corner of the globe to the other, prison doors burst open, sinners shake free from the shackles and stride with newly purchased assurance into the light of day. In one statement, the story comes all true . . . every individual strain from Genesis to Revelation finally blends in the one melodious symphony of re-creation, perfectly conducted by the Divine Maestro, in His own time and tempo.

The news of the coming of Jesus still brings peace to the conflict, healing to the sick, hope to the hopeless. His power is no less miraculous, the effects of His incarnation permanent and everlasting. His entrance on the human stage heralded by a small band of rag tags could never have foretold the pervasive influence He would have on every generation to follow. Forever since the angelic host sang of His coming, man cannot help but deal with Him, in one way or another.

And for this brief span of time and space, we are left to deal with the waning skirmishes of sin against the inevitable. Violence escalates, anger boils, frustration seethes. Riots, protests, war, terrorism, crime, injustice, all of which comprise sin’s arsenal, the last stand against the sheer potency of one word: Jesus.

Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news. News that will sustain us through the valley. News that will bind up our wounds. News that will protect us against the elements and soothe us in our grief. News that will light up the darkness, forevermore. Fear not.

Great Expectations

People will fall in and out of love with you all throughout your life.  Expectations rise.  Perceptions skew.  Attitudes sour.   Let’s be honest.  We know ourselves . . . every crack in the wall hidden by a pretty painting . . . every stain on the carpet covered by a well placed rug or an inviting couch.  It’s only a matter of time before someone accidentally bumps the vase to reveal the blemish hidden below.  When that happens, some people quietly place their hand over the stain in shared amusement at the fact that we really aren’t that much different.  Others, aghast with indignation, look away before we imprint our imperfection on their hearts.

It’s not in our nature to perpetually sustain the weight of someone else’s expectations for our life.  We can barely shoulder our own.  Most of us, unable to see ourselves objectively,  either creep stealthily in the shadows, waiting to be revealed for the fraud we feel we are or preen around in the light like we are something to behold, all the while trailing a torn piece of toilet paper from the bottom of our shoe.  It’s all smoke and mirrors, even on our best day.

And then the weariness.  The inevitable drain that comes when we are straining to manage our own images.  The inexplicable chess match that we are playing in our relationships, when all but those cherished few, will eventually arrive at checkmate.  And during those certain seasons of our lives, that betrayal can feel overwhelming . . . a rising tide of pain only playing by the rules of the moon.

Why do we place so much of our worth in the opinions of others?  Why do find ourselves emotionally shipwrecked when we fail to meet the unrealistic expectations of a friend?  Why do we consistently throw our anchor over the side of a sinking ship?  There is only one lighthouse in these shifting seas we call life.  There is only one who knows every crevice in our fractured hearts.  There is only one who turns our glaring imperfections into undeserved sufficiency.  No intentions or motivations miscalculated.  No games.  No fancy tap dances.  No pretense.  Just raw honesty and penetrating truth.  That’s what the relationship with our Father provides.  And  when we finally find eternal acceptance not in all that we are, but in all that we are not, we can navigate our human relationships with an unrelenting freedom.  We can re-arrange our furniture, re-hang our pictures on the walls and throw open our shutters.  Expectations are no more.  He has met them all.  Perfectly.

 

I am a Teacher . . . not a Miracle Worker

I am a teacher, not a miracle worker.  Though most days I wish I were.

There is nothing simple about the profession I have chosen.  No hard and fast rules you can play by.  Everyday the game changes because everyday you are playing a different game.  Every hour that you teach (and depending upon where you teach), you have anywhere from 12 to 20 to 35 different individuals sitting in front of you.  Each one of them an entire universe unto themselves.  They have different names, nationalities, ethnicities and origins.  They have different likes, passions and interests.  They have different learning styles and educational challenges.  They have varying levels of interests and abilities.  They come from different backgrounds and sadly, even in a private institution, some of them find school the safest place to be.

I am a fixer, a peace maker, a grand negotiator . . . one looking for answers in a world filled with questions.  And when I read the words of these students.  Oh, these students.  These kids who feel the sting of betrayal, the pain of abandonment . . . these kids who are at war with their insecurities and as a result, at war with one another.  These kids who know the horror of heartbreak and the deafening silence of loss.  What are we to do in this vast waste land of pain?  How do we, the educators in this world, balance the ever increasing demand to stamp out ignorance with knowledge and the ever increasing emotional isolation our students feel?  How do we decide each and every day, like Solomon, what is more important in this moment?  Nouns or nourishment?  How do we fix it?

One word:  hope.  It’s all we have.  It’s the only weapon in our arsenal as of yet undefeated and undeterred.  My students hear about this Jesus character from the moment they come to school until the moment they leave . . . from the verse of the day in the morning announcements to the opening prayer before math class.  They hear it so much, in fact, that some of them have been lulled into a mistaken belief that if He were really the answer, He would have shown up by now.  They have walked these halls long enough to pick out the phonies from the followers, and their heightened sense of sophistication belies their undeveloped spiritual maturity.  They have been drinking the water so long, they’ve forgotten how to feel thirsty.

Oh, my young friends and all of those valiant warriors standing in front of them every day. Don’t lose hope.  Don’t lose heart.  Every great teacher I have ever had, and every great teacher I have ever known . . . my mentors and my educational heroes have all shared one thing in common:  unrelenting love.  Love for their subjects, love for their calling, and most of all, love for their kids.  When I ponder my teachers of old, I don’t remember Wordsworth or Shakespeare.  I remember how much they loved me.  How they sacrificed their planning periods to listen and to counsel.  How they indulged my immaturity in the hopes of a better day.  How they reminded me that each moment was the beginning, not the end.  How they encouraged me never to give up.  And, I didn’t.

It is that love that gives us the strength to keep coming back everyday.  It is that love that give us the self control to choose moderation over malice.  It is that love that gives us hope.  Oh, make no mistake, there is an answer in this world full of questions.  And He just so happens to be the grand architect of hope.

I Am 43.

I am 43. Yesterday I was 10. Tomorrow, if the fates allow, I will be 76. Time is a vapor.

What has mattered most in my life is simple and can be catalogued in one word: relationships. When I look back over the long span of my days under the sun, I do not see my capabilities, I see my companions. I do not see the facts of my life unfold, I see faces. I do not see failures and missteps, talents or triumphs. I see providential appointments whose lingering fingerprints have influenced my path, shaping my destiny.

Relationships are tricky. They are fragile and easily tread upon by life’s circumstances. Distances pull. Time tugs. The intricate paths of our lives make maintaining them over long periods of time treacherous at best. They all don’t work out either, serving as reminders that oftentimes we are not the versions of ourselves that we aspire to be. We acquire friendships, on occasion, through pretense, advertising a false sense of self. Those always end tragically. We are eventually exposed for who we truly are, and when vulnerable, the root withers. However, friendships based on the shared awareness that we are fallen creatures, stumbling our way through the darkness, aiming for the light . . . those friendships have a sweetness, whose fragrance fills our lives. Sustaining us through the long, cold nights. Romping with us through the summer seasons. Remembering us when the world falls asleep.

Yes, the binding cord in all of our relationships is love. And love is the trickiest of all. This current generation has been seduced by the notion that love is an all-inclusive beach resort, unconditional acceptance of all actions, where the drinks are free and the food is paid for. When they are chastised in their relationships, they feel judged. When they are corrected, they feel betrayed. When their actions are not accepted, they impute hatred. If that were true, then I hate my son Luca when I tell him he is wrong, giving him behavioral boundaries, if observed, that will benefit his life, keeping him from ending himself. If that were true, then the redemptive work of Christ on the cross is nothing more than an elaborate hate mission, the “God made man” hanging on the cross to tell the world it was wrong AND He hated it. No, love is sharp like a sword. It cuts to the quick, curing and redeeming our deepest indiscretions. It should be handled with care and revered like a precious jewel. It pierces the soul with its beauty and its foundation is truth. It can bear nothing less. Those who love one another are painfully honest, pointing out those dangerous places in the path that might lead to ruin. Those ledges we all just might jump from without the wise counsel of one who loves us.

I am 43. And I still haven’t got it all figured out. But what I do know is that in the end, relationship are all that really matters. All that really lasts. Nothing transcends eternity like the connection we make with other souls. Nothing. So we better be getting better at practicing, securing and maintaining friendships. And that is not a job for the weak of heart. Because surrounding ourselves with people who are not afraid to stand upon the platform of truth and call us out on our crazy is the greatest, painful, woeful, redemptive gift this world affords.

Dear Hardee’s

Before you dismiss the next few moments as some fluffy, middle aged, prudish, past her prime, woman’s rant against young twenty-something females who have bodies for days and sex appeal that sells, don’t. I am, in truth, a fluffy, middle aged woman who has never considered herself anything but sometimes cute and mostly clumsy. My sense of fashion never developed past the “I’m in college, and I like to wear Umbro shorts and flip flops everyday” stage, and I have a tendency to find one outfit that works, and just stick with it. That being said, I am definitely not begrudging any young actress her body or appeal. In fact, I believe the female frame is one of the most artistically appealing renderings by the Creator, destined to be noticed, to be pursued, and to be desired. Forever an object of the male’s attraction, it is both incumbent upon each female to understand the power she possesses and to learn to treat that power with the same sensitivity she would when holding a live grenade. With great power comes great responsibility.

So, in your most recent advertising campaign, when you chose to put scantily clad, mostly wet, lanky legged models sliding around on hot rod vehicles while taking extra wide bites of one of your specialty burgers, I got it. I understand that you are trying to boost the profit margins for your company. Let’s face it. Fluffy biscuits purchased by senior citizens on Saturday morning just don’t pay the bills. And even in your hey day, when you were a new, shiny penny among the tarnished coins of the fast food industry, you were always, well . . . you were always Hardee’s. And I’m sorry about that. I really am.

However, just because we all understand that you are inexplicably attaching sex to hamburger meat doesn’t help me explain what is happening to my seven year old when he is watching television during a time of day or early evening when seven year olds watch television. And before you say, “just turn the channel,” I can’t. Your assault on the senses lasts 30 seconds. And admittedly, I am just not that fast.

So, let’s get this straight once and for all. Quit it. Seriously, stop it. Go back to “where’s the beef” or try to get that guy that talks faster than the speed of light to explain to us why we should buy your subpar fast food in an industry that is markedly subpar. And if you need to be weird, steal that creepy, plastic monarch that slinks around people’s houses and shows up in unexpected places eating a Whopper. There are ways to herd the dumb sheep, also known as the American consumer, into your half clean establishment without making us all feel like we need to take a shower first. In case you forgot, we are the most obese culture on the planet. We will eat anything, literally. So, please don’t sacrifice the souls of our young boys . . .our children, future husbands and fathers, on the altar of pornography before they even understand they are sexual creatures. There is an entire host of moms out here fighting a battle, outnumbered and oftentimes dismissed. We would love for our sons to grow into young men who value and enjoy the beauty of a woman while respecting the integrity of her heart and soul. As it stands right now, I’ve got to review 65,000 television shows on 7000 channels, check common sense reviews for 40 movie releases a year, scroll through browser histories, verify the age appropriateness of one million apps, and understand the ratings system of thousands of Wii, Xbox, and Nintendo games. Please, for the love of all that is holy, please don’t make me waste my precious time policing cheeseburger commercials. You’re better than that. Well, wait a minute. I forgot you’re not. But can’t we just pretend?