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9.10.04

The odd things we find in old coat pockets - and the Philosophy major in me was intrigued by the third

This was dated November 29, 1998 from the Syracuse Herald American. Page AA-5. I have no idea why I have it. I found it in the inner pocket of an old coat of mine. At first, I assume that the crinkled papery sound was money in an old coat, so at first I was pleased. I got this and I vaguely remember reading her column every Sunday. But I have no idea why I help the article. Though I can't figure out why it was so important to me to cut out and save for...6 years, obviously it was, and so I thought I'd share it. It's like peakinig back into who I was, except I can't remember.

Silent treatment effective, but it’s not good for you.

“Dum dum de dum dum . . . we hear the sounds of silence.” Yep, that’s my theme song when people make me mad. I’ve always been a firm believer in the silent treatment. Myabe it’s because I came from such a big family; shouting was how we handled everyday conversation, so to stand out or make a point, silence was the way to go.

That was me, all right, the sensitive, brooding type. If people pushed my buttons, I simply refused to speak to them until they missed my sparkling conversation so much they would apologize for whatever egregious wrong that had done me - whether they had done it or not. Of course, they usually had, because I was perfect and rarely did anything wrong myself.

Yep, I was a professional. I learned from the master myself, my brother Joe, who once went sex full months without speaking to me in high school. I thought it was because I had scratched one of his albums; turns out he had some sort of nodule on his vocal cord. Hey, who knew? He still made a darn valid point, as far as I was concerned.

According to the latest studies, however, this might not be the best way to deal with anger. (Sigh.) You know, just once I’d like to see a study confirming that I might’ve actually been doing something right all these years; for instance, establishing the health benefits of drinking milk out of the carton. Just once.

At any rate, the silent treatment, while infinitely effective at annoying the object of one’s anger (according to my own research) can actually be detrimental to one’s health. Apparently, it saps one’s mental energy. Of course, so do television and anything more than casual interaction with the opposite sex, if you ask me. But, hey, no one did.

So can you imagine that? The one thing I do really well, not being good for me? I think that’s absolutely ridiculous, the thought that something as easy as being quiet can sap my mental . . . um . . . yeah. Hello. What was I saying? I know it was something very important . . . darn.

Well, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I emphatically did not scratch that blasted album in high school, and so he had no right to make his friends ignore me and not take me to the homecoming dance. OK - hang on. It’s coming back to me. That wasn’t what I was talking about, was it? Sorry.

Oh, I know! I was talking about the silent treatment sapping my brain. Right. Well, it certainly does no such thing.

But why do I do it anyway? Logically, wouldn’t it be easier just to spit it out? What deep, dark emotion prevents me from sharing my innermost thoughts with the people I love? Oh, that’s right. I know what it is. I’m mean. It’s true. Even my mother thinks so.

You see, I could never spontaneously say, “Honey, would you please empty the trash?” What would come out is, “You know, if you actually got into the garbage bag and jumped up and down for a while, you could probably get another tissue in there.”

It’s how I handle anger. I never said I was proud of myself.

But that was the old me, darn it. I’m turning over a new leaf. I’m going to start sating what’s on my mind - nicely, if I have to - because it’s the healthy thing to do. Everybody always says that people who yell and scream and don’t hold anything back live forever, so as of now I’ve got a new theme song. Come on, people, sing along with me:

“You know you make me want to -!”



Maggie Lamond Simone is a free-lance writer who lives in Syracuse.

I also kept this one. (Not sure of the date, but it must be 1998 as well, b/c it talks on the opposite side on a reunion in 1999). Same author.


Doggne it, I have to cook for him

Cook for him? I thought incredulously. Now they want me to cook for him?

I don’t understand it. I thought I’d done everything right since we’ve been together. I’ve read all the books. I’ve worked on my temper and my tendency to dote. I’ve learned hot to show my love without being overbearing and coddling, I’ve given him space and been there when he needed a hug. I never dreamed I had a capacity for this kind f love, and I’ve tried so hard not to screw it up.

But cook for him?

It’s hard to tell where this all started; we’ve run the whole relationship gamut over the past few years. I know him inside out, better than he knows himself. I know when he doesn’t feel well or when he’s just mopey because of the weather. I know what he thinks and why he thinks it, what he feels and why he feels it. He’s my soul mate.

SO I guess this little problem just sort of snuck up on us. Maybe it was inevitable. Maybe I spoiled him or gave in too mich, as I am wont to do in such a relationship. I thought I finally had one trained just right, but maybe all of this time it was the other way around.

I mean, really. Cook?

See, I was always an independent kinda girl; some might’ve even called me self-centered and irresponsible (my parents come to mind). I had no cares, no worries about anything that didn’t specifically involve me. I didn’t have to think about another’s health or whether he was getting enough sleep. And, frankly, I miss it sometimes. The past can be difficult to release.

But I’ve released most of it now, since he’s come into my life. The baggage, the anxiety, the need to self-destruct. We’ve learned when to compromise and when to stand strong, which behavior is acceptable and which is inappropriate, what we want and what we need, and how to give and receive love.

And we’ve also learned, together, our roles, our desires, our expectations and limitations, because that’s how it is in a relationship. You learn together and grow together and love each other no matter what.

Or at least that’s what I thought. But we seem to have hit an unforeseen stumbling block, a possibly insurmountable chasm dividing our usually unshakable bond. Apparently, because I give him what he wants instead of what’s best for him, he’s developed a food allergy of some sort, and in order to determine which food, I have to cook for him.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” they said with an enthusiasm I just didn’t share. “A little lamb, some whitefish, brown rice, a few boiled potatoes and carrots. You’ll catch on in no time.” Yeah. I’ll catch on all right, I thought. I’ll catch the next rain outta here. Enough is enough.

I’ve given up half of my bad and all of my house for him I feed him, pick up after him and indulge his love of the outdoors when I’d rather be watching television. And though, like many members of the male species, he isn’t big on communication, I’ve learned to understand his every mood, his every thought. I doubt he’s even capable of understanding mine.

And now I have to cook for him?

Apparently I do, and I will. It’s a matter of health, you see, not a matter of yielding to anti-feminist logic. It’s not like I’m dressing up in kinky clothes or anything. He needs a special diet, and so I will cook. If I would lay down my life for him, then certainly I can do this one small thing.

I have to go now; I have to figure out how this oven works. After all, he’s the only dog I have.



And finally, this was in there. Go Plato.

What's your major? What's it worth to you?

Here are the annuual earnings in 1993 by college undergraduate majors for man and women aged 35-44, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Men: top five majors
1. Engineering.....$53,286
2. Mathmatics.....$51,584
3. Computer Science.....$50,509
4. Pharmacy.....$50,480
5. Physics.....$50,128

Women: top five majors
1. Economics.....$49,170
2. Engineering.....$49,070
3. Pharmacy.....$48,427
4. Architecture.....$46,363
5. Computer Science.....$43,757


Men: bottom five majors
1. Philosophy/religion...$31,848
2. Social Work.....$32,171
3. Visual/Performing Arts.....$32,972
4. Foreign Languages.....$33,780
5. Education.....$34,470


Women: bottom five majors
1. Philosophy/Religion.....$25,788 (Luckily, I make a little more than that)
2. Education.....$27,988
3. Home Economics.....$28,275
4. Social work.....$28,594
5. Agriculture.....$28,751

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