Thursday, December 10, 2009

Got Any Batteries?

This is the time of year when American consumerism is at its peak. A walk down the aisle at Walmart or Walgreen’s or a peek into a Sharper Image or Hammacher Schlemmer catalog and you will be reminded that Americans are in love with automation. Now don’t get me wrong,I am not willing to live an Amish existence. I like my microwave and vacuum as much as anyone. I even own an electric ice crusher and a Mr. Iced Tea. But how lazy does one have to get to need some of the things that are available this Christmas? The descriptions are the manufacturers', not mine. The parenthetical wise cracks are mine.

Hands Free Toothpaste Dispenser

Now, Touch N Brush is the revolutionary new hands-free, mess-free toothpaste dispenser that works with just one touch! It's the great new way to dispense the perfect amount of toothpaste every time. Just a gentle touch of the pump arm with the brush, and a nice, neat strip of toothpaste comes out instantly! Featuring Vacuum Force Technology that cleanly squeezes every available drop of toothpaste, Touch N Brush works with virtually any size toothpaste tube, totally eliminates bathroom mess, uses no batteries or electric, plus it's incredibly easy to set-up & refill. What's more, it looks great! No more messy sinks, no cleaning up after kids, or fighting over the last drop of toothpaste. Just a simple gentle touch and a perfect, even strip of toothpaste is on the brush in one second!
(As opposed to the 1.01 second it takes to do it by hand.)

Motion Sensing Tetris Game

Rather than pressing keys, you alter a Tetrimino's direction by simply tilting or turning the handheld console, allowing blocks to be dropped on any side of the 2" x 2 1/2" monochrome LCD grid. Tetriminos may also be rotated with the push of a button.

(Because pressing keys can be so stressful.)

Ultra-sonic Denture Cleaner

Proven to eliminate up to 99.9% of germs like E. coli and Staphylococcus, the unit vibrates 8,000 times per minute and uses tap water to clean dental aides in five minutes without the need for chemicals.

(If you buy this, what will you use your Hands Free toothpaste dispenser for?)

I do, however, believe my workplace has reached the height of automation overload.
1. Our bathroom doors open automatically. That is totally understandable, it was requested by a disabled person and is necessary for several patrons. But read on.

2. The toilets flush automatically before and after use. It is probably meant to save water but because it is movement activated (no pun intended - ok I intended it) it often flushes when it doesn’t need to. When it does flush, there isn’t enough water that it flushes completely so you have to flush it again manually using even more water than one normal, manual flush would have used.

3. The soap dispensers are electronic and when they run out of soap they beep continuously until they are refilled. The person who refills them only comes in the library a couple times a day. So once one of them is out of soap, everyone in the library hears it beeping every time the door is opened.

4. The water is motion sensitive. The problem is, you have to wave your hands under it for several seconds before it comes on and then it continues to run for several seconds after you’ve finished and moved on.

5. The paper towels are dispensed automatically. That is fine but it is often empty and you drip dry, anyway.

I realize that manufacture, sale, and installation of all this automation provide the economy with jobs, GDP, taxes, etc. But I can’t help but wonder how many good old fashioned, low tech library books could have been bought with the money it took to automate the outhouse.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Do You Like The New Header? My jewelry? Me?

So, please tell me you like the new Glassyeyed logo-header thing! I drew it. I love the colors and spirals. I'm also using it on business cards. I've printed some up and have promised myself that I will go to a couple boutiques today and try to place some of my jewelry on commission. I can't keep spending the amount of money I'm spending on beads and glass just to build a collection of lovely necklaces to hang in my workroom.

I know they are nicer than alot of stuff people buy and wear and I know they are one-of-a-kind and I'm very proud of the work, love and artistry that goes into them, but I still get this pit in my stomach when I think about going out and convincing other people to buy - or even display - them. It is like saying to a total stranger, "Here is the best I can do. Is it good enough?" I've always sought other people's approval more than I should and I'm sure there are 100 psychological explaination for why. I'll leave those as the topic of another post. (Heck, I just read the top of this post. Even in it I'm begging for approval. How pathetic!)

To me, selling my art is a very tangible way to know whether people approve of what is inside me. It is very scary. It's uncomfortable. It makes me...



Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thank You, Patsy T. Mink

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act,

Commonly refered to as Title IX

Saturday we had the end of season swim party and cookout for the Wildcats soccer team that Addie plays on and Jack coaches. It is an annual event to which we all look forward. We are so blessed to have such great girls and parents on our soccer team. It is a recreational team, no fees are paid and we don't travel to tournaments. Our girls aren't counting on college soccer scholarships or torturing their joints to practice and play. They show up on Thursday evenings to practice and Saturday mornings to play because they love the game. Ok, they also love the social event it provides, but they must love the game to work as hard as they do.

Jack has been coaching them since they were in kindergarten when one of the moms saw him be gentle and sweet with the girls and told the commissioner Jack should coach. He loves the competion, the game and the girls. He replays wins through half of Saturday and he replays loses until Sunday morning. It is his calling and he is great at it. After almost every game he gathers the girls on the bench and says, "Who had fun? I did." This is the speech whether they win or lose. Somehow, he makes them love winning without making them feel too badly about losing.

I can't help but think that part of why these girls are so devoted to recreational soccer is that they know they will be able to go on to play high school volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball, golf, swim, run track and cross country. That opportunity is due, in part, to Title IX, or the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.

Texas and Oklahoma were forward thinking in allowing girls' atheletics. My Aunt Jewell, who is 91, played high school basketball. To this day, when she talks about her girlhood, basketball games take one of the top spots for storytelling. However, even southern schools needed the push from Title IX to help girls know that they had ATHLETES inside them. The power, self-confidence and self-reliance that comes with that one word, ATHLETES is transforming.

I saw that power in the girls at the swim party Saturday. They may have all started to wear make-up, gotten cell phones, become curvey and grown up over the past few years, but they are ATHLETES and they know (though, perhaps, subconsciously) what that means. They are powerful and self-reliant. I appreciate that soccer and other sports have given that to my own girls and the neighborhood girls whom I love.

Thank you, Jack and the other coaches who have given time to Amy, Angie and Addie and also the girls against whom they have competed. Thank you to the parents who forgo trips to the lake, housekeeping and yardwork to be at games. And THANK YOU to Patsy T. Mink for Title IX and what it has done for my girls and for so many other young women in this country.



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Organization is Good for the Soul

My sister lost her husband last week and we are going to Minnesota for his memorial this weekend. He wanted Glenda to have an informal gathering of friends and family at their house to remember, laugh, and cry.

Yesterday, she e-mailed me and the other two sisters a long 'to do' list. It is full of things like "rent tables and chairs", and "clean the patio". I was very relieved to get this list. I've been spending the week since my last conversation with John feeling his loss, but not knowing what to do about it. Glenda's list helped give me "little chores", as Mother used to call them, to help focus my grief.

It reminded me of the days after Mother died. Each evening we four girls would gather at the kitchen table and go through our 'to do' lists. We took comfort in the busy-ness of cleaning, writing thank you notes, making phone calls.

As I reflect on this, I think we react to grief in this way for several reasons. One being that we have the good old protestant work ethic that makes us want everything just right for our guests. But deeper than that, I think we need these chores because they are something over which we have control. We can make decisions about how the chores will be completed and we can see that they are completed on our schedules. These situations follow a time period where we had no control. Sickness and Death pay no attention to our schedules or decisions. We are swept along into the world of dying with few options, none of them pleasant. We need the 'to do' lists to help us regain some semblance of control. And control has always been a pretty big issue with the women in my family.

Thank you, Glenda, for sending the list. And a special thank you to Tori and Royce who will be the List Czarinas. I, for one, am grateful for this way to channel my grief and regain some control.


Monday, May 11, 2009


Jason asked why I write Stretch at the end of my posts. It is just my sign-off, like Walter Cronkites', "And that's the way it is." or Tracy Ullman's, "Go Home!" Stretching is good for body, soul and mind. Stretching keeps our muscles younger and when we stretch our minds to really consider what others say and how they feel, we become better people, I think. So STRETCH means just that. STRETCH!

My family lost a member Sunday morning who helped teach all of us to stretch. My brother-in- law John passed away. I met John when I was in seventh grade. He was as opposite from me as anyone I'd ever met. He stretched my mind by helping to introduce me to Chinese food, Asian art, Car Talk and Mozart. He gave me my first driving lesson. He accompanied me on the piano and coached me as I learned my solo for UIL contest. He showed me shiatsu. He taught Jack card games and talked football with him. He stretched my faith by challenging me to think about what I really believe and why I believe it.

My life is richer due to the directions John helped me stretch. I'm grateful.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Today I saw another “Best Books Ever Written” list. This latest list was from one of the editorialists at NPR. He limited his list to The Best 100 Books of the 20th Century. Embarrassingly, I’ve only read eleven titles on his list. Goodreads, a social networking site for readers also has a list. I’ve read many more of them. Project Gutenberg, a collection of electronic books has several best book lists available, too. You might enjoy some of the lists. Just click to get to them.

I use all these lists to help make purchasing decisions for my library, help recommend books to patrons and to help build my own “need to read” list. Some titles appear on many of the lists, but none of the lists are exactly alike. Literature is, after all, a matter of taste.

Since I know you are all eagerly awaiting my list of favorites, I’ll share it. Tomorrow night my list might be different. These, though, are books that come to mind right now that I enjoyed or that made me think. Some of them even changed my life. Let me hear yours, too.


  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (It's a good thing my children were girls because I would have named boys Augustus and Capt'n Call)
  • Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Students read her The Bean Trees in English class, but I think Poisonwood Bible is her masterpiece)
  • The Believers by Janice Holt Giles (I read it the first time in seventh grade and I love it more every time I read it.)
  • The Good Old Boys by Elmer Kelton (I've known men like the main character. The best and worst of manhood and the American West.)
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (I don't know if I'd feel the same way if I read it today, but it changed the way I looked at the world.)
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (A really, really great book about friendship, regret and responsibility.)
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey (The movie is good, but the book rocks.)
  • Shane by Jack Schaefer (The ulitimate western novel. Every Hollywood gunfighter owes his existence to Shane.)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (She may have only had one book in her, but it was a great one.)
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (One of the only books I actually got spooky scared as I was reading it.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bluebonnets! One of the things I love about being Texan.

Other Texas things I love:
Small towns
The Wind
Dairy Queens
Big Tex
Drill Teams and Twirlers
Helpful Neighbors
Mexican Food (mostly Margaritas)

What do you love about being from where ever you are from?

A special thanks to the nice neighbor who didn't call the police when I went in his yard to take this picture.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kudos to Teachers!

I just taught four classes today. I told the students in the first three classes how to find literary criticism on Oedipus, Hamlet, and Glass Menagerie for papers they are writing for college English Composition II. I talked for about forty minutes in each of the three classes about using the catalog and databases. The fourth class was on using the internet efficiently. You know, the class where I teach students that "Wikipedia is the devil's workshop!" (Just kidding.) I teach classes often but it is pretty rare I have four scheduled in one day. I am exhausted.

How do elementary teachers stay "on" all day long? They never get to relax. I begin to lose my "teacher voice" after class two and my feet hurt in the middle of class three. I would think that every muscle in an elementary teacher's body, including their voice, must be absolutely worn out at the end of each day.

How do jr. high teachers deal with the adolescent eye rolls and apathy? I quickly develop a profound dislike for students who display a, "This is beneath me" attitude. I would imagine that is a specialty of seventh and eighth graders.

How do high school teachers teach the same material six times in a day? Don't they forget what they have said? By my last class I wasn't sure if I was repeating myself to this group or just remembered having said it to the 2:00 class.

How do college teachers remember students' names? I've always been glad my co-workers wear name tags or I'd have to call them all sir and ma'm. There is no way I could remember all the students' names if I taught four sections with fifty students each and only saw them a few hours each week.

Though it doesn't sound like it, I really like the teaching portion of my job. It is a nice combination of performance and scholarship. However, days like today make me very grateful for the days I get to sit at my desk and buy books with tax payers' money. I send a hearty and heart felt THANK YOU to all of you who have dedicated yourselves to teaching all day, every day so I don't have to.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Home Is Where Your Heart Is

I have a nephew who has just left for the Virgin Islands to work for a few months. Another nephew is moving with his wife to Honduras soon to work for an NGO. Yet another nephew is thinking he will probably go to college in Liverpool, England. I have a niece who lives in New York City even though she has no blood related family nearby. One of my good friends has a niece who plans to move her family to Africa in the next few years. Another young couple with whom I am acquainted has already done a tour with the Peace Corps in Africa and has had another job in Costa Rica.

I am perplexed by, yet envious of, these twenty-and-thirty- somethings who are so brave and who are willing to step off into adventures without the security of extended family or childhood friends. For heaven’s sake, I was so homesick and lonely when I went to Abilene to go to college that I came back and finished college in Canyon, where I grew up. And they almost speak the same language in Abilene as in Canyon! Then it took me two years to get over the trauma of moving from Amarillo to Fort Worth and I was thirty and had two kids by the time that happened. As I was growing up I barely knew anyone who had traveled overseas, much less lived there.

Young people have a very different relationship to the world than my generation had. They feel a global responsibility that never occurred to me. They have created circles of friends and surrogate families which provide support and care. They also provide support and care not only to their circle of friends, but to a great many strangers. They feel genuine concern about the citizens of the world. My concerns when I was thirty involved how many square feet could our mortgage provide and where would I find a good hairdresser in the new neighborhood. These young heroes are maintaining power grids, planting trees in deserts, teaching the poor and healing the sick.

Many other young relatives I haven’t mentioned are staying closer to home and family and have chosen careers of community service. They have taken on responsibility for parents, family and community far beyond their years. I am so very proud to know these men and women. I have great hope for our communities, our nation and our world as their generation assumes the seats of power.

God Bless Them All.


Monday, March 23, 2009

A Season of Lasts

As I sit here at work (I didn't take a lunch hour so I don't feel too guilty writing this on company time) Angie is playing what will probably be her last high school soccer game. Jack has called a couple times with updates. The Lady Raiders are behind 2 to 0 and it is killing me not to be there. However, it is probably for the best. I know I would stand in the bleachers and bawl. Not because they may lose, but because I'll never get to watch Angie play soccer again. I've been watching her play soccer since she was 4 years old. She insisted on having number 4 on her first jersey because she was 4. That was her number for years. As she grew, she was never the star, but she was always a solid, contributing team member. She took it more seriously than most but not too seriously like some. It was a good activity for her. I'm sad to see it end.

We've had lots of "lasts" this year; last cross country meet, last Youth in Government trial, buying the last formal for a dance, last Youth Sunday and soon we'll have the last CTCYM Mission Trip. In typical Jo (and Holladay sister) fashion, I've cried at each one, embarrassing Angie and giving Jack and Addie something to razz me about.

I think I am taking these lasts so hard because I am so very proud of what they represent. They represent the woman she is becoming. Angie is everything I was not at eighteen. She is confident, committed, intellectual, sweet, funny, unpretentious. I could go on and on but Roget's Thesaurus only has a finite number of words for the concept.

If you see me in the next few months with tears streaming down my face for no apparent reason, just know that I have probably realized another "last" has just happened. Just pat me on the shoulder and remind me that I won't have to do this again for five years. Poor Addie, I will be a total basket case when it is time for her lasts.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Lady Bird Said That?

Art is the window to man’s soul. Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could the world see the man within. Lady Bird Johnson

I don’t often find myself quoting Lady Bird Johnson, but I ran across the above quote from her that I really love. It especially spoke to me because I’ve been spending a lot of time on my art lately. “My” art is stained glass mosaics and fused glass and recently, singing. I’d neglected them for quite a while but for the past six weeks I’ve been neglecting housekeeping and cooking to spend time cutting and melting and warbling. It is very satisfying to see or hear something that didn’t exist ever before and then it does exist because I created it. I thought it up, I shaped the pieces and I put them together differently than anyone else might have. Though the process is different from visual art, the song I sing won’t sound like anyone else’s, either. For some people, the creation of the art is enough, and it is powerful for me, too. But I guess I’m insecure enough that I also really enjoy the feedback I get from my art. Seeing someone wearing a piece of my jewelry or driving by a house and seeing a large piece of my mosaic hanging in the window is very rewarding. Hearing applause after a performance is the ultimate high for me. I guess I think it means the world approves of my “man within.” Sometimes I need that.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Gran Torino

Jack and I had a movie date Saturday afternoon. I guess it counts as a date even if the kids were in the next theater. We even ordered the $7.00 popcorn! I don’t go to the movies much. They are expensive and I tend to fall asleep in the dark. For this movie, however, I was awake and enthralled to the bitter-sweet end. Gran Torino was the movie and (excuse the pun), I was blown away. I have heard this may be Eastwood’s last acting role. If it is, he is going out on top.

I am surprised the Academy overlooked this film for the Oscars. It got some good reviews. I think the Hmong boy should have gotten a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His character grew and matured beautifully through the movie. Here is a website with some reviews. Some of them are spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie, choose the reviews carefully.

The reviewers all have different opinions regarding what the film “is about.” I think it is about loving your neighbor, your enemy and yourself and about being givers rather than takers. It is nice when Hollywood reminds us of those things rather than how many household power tools can double as murder weapons. By the way, I'm not going to go see the remake of the remake of Friday the 13th.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Is Anyone Safe?

In the past couple weeks two of my acquaintances have been robbed – at gunpoint, in separate incidences! Two people I know, not strangers on television or statistics in the paper. Two people who drive the same streets I drive and shop at the same places I shop. Two people just like me were robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight! Frankly, that scares the hell out of me. Both were unharmed but it is still a scary, scary thing.

My initial reaction has been to protect myself and my family. I’ll lock the doors, not go out after dark, etc. But these protections are only temporary. If we are truly going to protect ourselves, we have to look deeply and seriously not at what causes individuals to be victims, but at what causes individuals to be criminals. I’m not a criminologist or sociologist but I have some theories. Economic hopelessness, the media glorification of the “gansta” image, the punitive rather than rehabilitation emphasis of the courts system, insidious drug use, out of control materialism and consumerism are a few of the things I think contribute to crime in our country.

So What? What can I do about these mammoth problems?
  • First, I have to remember that it isn’t just PROBLEMS that cause crime. It is PEOPLE with problems who commit crimes. At the beginning of every crime statistic is a person who is addicted to drugs or money or who is economically or spiritually hopeless or who has any of the thousands of excuses we’ve made available to criminals.
  • Next, I can support leaders and public policy that recognize criminals as people and that employ methods to address deficiencies in society that cause criminal behavior.
  • And lastly, I can pray for the criminals and the public officials dealing with the crime. "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28.

So, here is a challenge, friends. Go to this web site or your local newspaper, find a crime that has been committed in your neighborhood and pray for the victims, the accused and the officials who have to make decisions regarding the crime. Even write one of them a note letting them know you are praying for their wisdom or peace or healing. If everyone did that, every week, I can’t help but think the world would change for the better.



Monday, January 26, 2009

Another Semester is Underway

I've taught my first classes of the semester. The students seemed engaged and interested, for the most part but I'm sure some thought I was just a big, dorky old lady. Unlike teachers who are with students for a whole semester, I have one hour with them to make an impact. I really never know if what I've tried to teach has taken or not. Sometimes, they come by the Reference Desk and thank me, or I see them working from the sources I told them about, but usually, I never know how they did on that research paper or if they found that literary criticism they needed. Educators these days are obsessing on outcome evaluation but it is a very complicated issue with library instruction. My hope is that, occasionally, students I teach will think, "I'll see if I can find a book for that," or "I'll look that up," rather than just blowing off a question or looking it up in Wikipedia. The fact that I so seldom have feedback makes those students who do come back and tell me they got an A on the research paper that much more precious. I wish I'd gone by and told the librarians "Thanks" occasionally at WTSU. Karma, you know.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Isn't African American Fiction Literature?

My book group is discussing the books of Toni Morrison next month and I wanted my own copy of Beloved because I kept wanting to write in my library copy and circulation staff frown on that, especially from librarians. So I stopped by Borders and there were no Toni Morrison books on the shelf in the LITERATURE section. When I asked for assistance I was directed to the AFRICAN AMERICAN section. I am saddened and hurt that an author with the gifts and status of Toni Morrison is not shelved with Steinbeck and Faulkner, but with romance novels that happen to have African American girls as the main characters. The same is true for Zora Neal Hurston and Ralph Ellison. It seems to me to be the literary equivilent of being made to sit at the back of the bus. As we inauguate our 44th president, we should move to incorporate these writers into "mainstream" literature. English teachers and readers already have. It is time for booksellers to catch up. If you feel the same way, please let Borders know.


Monday, January 19, 2009

America Loses a Great Artist

Andrew Wyeth died a couple days ago. As I was growing up he was one of the great artists Mother would talk about. His paintings caused stories to form in my head. They always seemed mysterious, as if he was letting me in on a secret. I know there are young artists out there waiting to join his ranks. I hope I can find them.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Do You NEED me to help you to the car with that?

Yet another nicety of our society that has gone by the wayside is the nice teenager who politely and efficiently sacked our grocieries and carried them out to the car for us. I miss him. I am perfectly able physically, mentally and emotionally, to sack and transport my own groceries but I still miss having someone else do it. It was a good way (when properly supervised) to help a young person learn some responsibility and work skills and express appreciation to paying customers. Last night I bought about $350.00 of groceries and Angie and Addie and I had to unload them to be checked out then help sack them and carry them to the car. Are you listening, Albertsons, Kroger, and Tom Thumb? The CEO of Albertson's holding Company, Jefferey Noddle, has a five year compensation package of 18.5 million dollars! He should personally be available to carry my groceries to the car!


Monday, January 12, 2009

How Does This Happen?

As of today I am the mother of a 21 year old, an 18 year old and a 13 year old! How do they get older when I don't? Amy was very disappointed today when she ordered a margarita at a restaurant and they didn't even card her. She wanted the experience of showing her id and being legal. Oh, well. She'll probably look 15 for many years to come so they'll be plenty of time for being carded. I'm also the mother-in-law of an employed person! Yea! Jordan got a job as a plumber's apprentice. I'm not quite used to using the phrase mother-in-law, yet. Maybe it will grow on me.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'll take your advice next time

My good friend and mentor, Sandy, told me I need to keep my blog posts short so I'll do them more often. I didn't take her advice on the last one. I'll work on that.

The Rest of the World Must Be Right Some of the Time

My mother was a very strong, brilliant, opinionated person. Often, when she would get on a soapbox about something, she would say to herself (and me), "But the rest of the world must be right some of the time." I never thought she really believed that. I still think she thought she was right all of the time and rest of the world was wrong. But don't we all think that? Why would we continue to stand by a thought or deed if we thought we were wrong? Of course we think we are right or we would change what we think.

I had an experience Christmas Eve of which I can't let go and I keep asking myself and those unfortunate enough to have to listen to me if the rest of the world is right this time and if not, what can I (and we all) do to avoid situations like this. So maybe if I put it out here in blogsville I can let go of it and quit annoying my family and friends with this story.

My family went to the movies on Christmas Eve. We rarely go the movies as a family and I had great hopes of it being a special family time. We could talk about the movie and what fun we had over hot cocoa and it would become a Christmas Eve tradition. Okay, I have a very low bar for meaningful family experience.

As we were getting our popcorn, the young woman serving us was quite grumpy. Not overtly rude, it was just clear she did not want to be there. As she gave me my drink I smiled and said, very sincerely, "Thanks for working on Christmas Eve, we appreciate you being here so we can have a family outing." I try, during the Christmas season or when I shop late at night, to express appreciation to retailers and service people because I've been in their shoes and know it is no fun.

Well, she just looked at me, which is fine, but the young man beside her snottily said, "It's Hanukah, too, you know." Now I don't know if he was Jewish or if he was missing some important tribal gathering to get paid minimum wage at the movie theater, but I took a deep breath, decided his motives didn't matter and said, again very sincerely, "You're right. I'm sorry I didn't mention that. Thank you for working during Hanukah."

Now during the exchange I had been handed all my movie snacks. One of which was a pickle juice pop. For those of you unfamiliar with this delicacy, it is what the name implies, frozen pickle juice in a little plastic cup to be eaten like ice cream. Yummmmmm! I asked for a spoon. They had no spoons. I looked at the cup and once again very nicely and sincerely said, "Oh, well, maybe you should have told me that before I paid for it. How do I eat it?"

A third young person working behind the counter turned around, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "Suck On It!"

My question to you, gentle readers, is "What should my response have been?" Do we live in a world where teenagers who are being paid to do a job should be allowed to treat paying customers like this? Was my mistake trying to be overly nice in the first place? What can we, as a society, do to reintroduce civility and manners into our little corners of the world?

This is not a rhetorical question. I truly am asking you what I should have done. I won't bother you with what I did, it wasn't particularly interesting or effective. Please let me know your thoughts in case, heaven forbid, I should be presented with a simular dilemma again. Let me know if this was, indeed, one of the times when the rest of the world was right.