April 7, 2014

The Princeton Mom...Sane or Insane?

I’m all over the place on this one.  Yesterday, I read a story about Susan Patton, otherwise dubbed, The Princeton Mom and I was 100% team Patton.  She’s Princeton alum, who was on campus for a Women and Leadership conference discussing career, resume writing and interview techniques with a group of undergrads. During a breakout session, she asked the female undergrads if they wanted to get married and have children.  Apparently, the girls were reluctant to answer and seemed worried about being critically judged for admitting that they wanted families.  This interaction led Susan Patton to pen a letter to the Daily Princetonian, urging female grads to snatch up a husband before they graduate.  In her letter, she states, “For most of you, the cornerstone of your future happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worth of you”.  Her letter went viral and received over 100 million hits on Google in 3 days, creating a huge debate and infuriating women all across the globe.  (I’ll still never understand how things go viral like that, but good for her).
I thought to myself, you do meet great guys at college (I did).  In Texas, there’s a saying, “A fertile field for plowing”, and that’s what she’s saying – “Ladies, this is a great opportunity, don’t blow it”.
I was reminded of my girlfriends, who graduated college, moved to NY, got fantastic jobs on Wall Street, and worked their way up the corporate ladder.  These girls would go to the gym at 9:00 p.m. and out to dinner at 11:00 pm.  I thought their lifestyle was insane, but they all loved it and thought I was lame.  Well, they loved it for the first few years, and then it got old and lonely.  They wanted to meet a guy and have a family, but living in the city, working around the clock, and meeting guys at bars was not working out for them. It does get lonely coming back to your studio apartment, alone, cooking for yourself, and dating guys that never call you back.  And some of these gals did find themselves in their early 30’s with no family.  So, when I read the letter from The Princeton Mom to these undergrads, I agreed with her.  In fact, I applauded her for stating the obvious.
Her article generated so much debate that she wrote a book entitled, “Marry Smart”.  This is why it’s always good to do your research before publicly supporting someone.  Let’s just say that after I read a few excerpts from the book, I’m no longer 100% team Patton.  Here are just a few quotes: “Invest 75 percent of your energy on finding a partner and 25 percent on professional development. If you’ve struggled with obesity through most of your teen years, then maybe surgical intervention is a good idea for you. If you’re going to go the route of cosmetic surgery to ensure you are “as socially successful” in college as possible, do it early enough to feel comfortable in your new body before going away to school”.  And finally, “When she enters college, your daughter will never again be as young, as beautiful, as attractive to men, or as fertile. Encourage her to make the best use of this time”.  Huh?
Look, if you’re single, and you want to meet a great guy, then go out and live your life doing what you love.  If you drink espresso at midnight, go to your local coffee house and someone else who likes to drink espresso at midnight might just be there too. This book completely de-values women and has them thinking that they will be old ugly spinsters if they don’t nail down a husband in college.  I’m not sure how I didn’t get that the first time around but I was far off the mark.  I believe that college is a place to grow-up, have fun, meet interesting people, get in a little trouble, work hard, and if you meet a great guy along the way, more power to you.  I’d love to see Gloria Steinem’s face when she reads this book!
The Princeton Mom, sane or insane, what say you?  www.randiccrawford@gmail.com

March 24, 2014

Thank You Chelsea

I don’t even know where to start.  Four years ago, I received a call from a friend, whose dear friend needed our help. Her daughter had gone jogging, and wasn’t home at her usual time, and within minutes, her family knew something was terribly wrong.  My friend asked if I would help to put up flyers around Poway, to look for Chelsea King, and so I jumped right on it. I remember how the community immediately sprang into action and people from all over San Diego were there to help.

My friend told me that Brent King would never stop fighting for his daughter until the day he died.  While I believed her then, I never would have believed what that family has accomplished in the four short years since that tragic day when a monster, took her life. They established “Finish Chelsea’s Run” to literally finish the run that Chelsea never got to finish herself.  From what I understand, they were expecting 100 people to show up for that first race.  Instead, they were showered with 3,500 people the very first year. 

I’m not a runner, and I definitely don’t like getting up at the crack of dawn. But this year, my daughter convinced me to register us for Chelsea’s Run because it really meant a lot to her.  It rained all week and the weather channel said, “100 precipitation Saturday”... it didn’t say “chance”, because 100% means there is no chance.  This was going to be a wet, and cold race, but I still committed to my daughter and agreed that we would go unless there was thunder and lightning. (You know I prayed for thunder and lightning, right?).  My sister and her daughter ran with us, which made the experience incredibly special. And then the most magical thing happened.  My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., and there was no rain.  I thought I must have still been sleeping because it had to be raining, but there was none.  So I prayed for it to just hold off a little more, at least until the end of the race, chugged 2 cups of coffee, and headed out the door.

When we arrived, it was gorgeous outside.  The sun was shining, the skies were blue, and it hit me harder than I had imagined.  The only way to explain it is that you just felt Chelsea’s presence all around.  It was an intensely emotional experience. The next thing that bowls you over is the magnitude of people.  They announced that it was close to 10,000 supporters this year, and again with the flood of emotions taking over my body.  While we were lining up for the run, Brent King started talking, and he told us to “Jump in all the puddles because that’s what Chelsea would have done”, and by now the swell of emotion was enormous.  I wish that I could better describe the feeling that takes over your body, because it’s almost an out of body experience.  You just want to hug every single person that you see running alongside you. When I looked around, there were so many smiling faces, young and old, teams, groups, schools, and volunteers, and it was so uplifting, knowing that you’re all there for the same reason.  While I was running, a teenage boy puts his hand out to give me a “high -five” just because, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  My sister knew some of the volunteers and it made me so proud of all the kids, who inspired us and cheered us on, along the way.

I may stink at running, and my legs almost fell off my body, but I can honestly say that today was one of the best days ever.  And to all my doubters, there were no paddy wagons carting me to the finish line, I got there all on my own.  We have an amazing community and it was a huge honor to be a part of something so special.

May God bless the families of Amber Dubois and Chelsea King, and I hope to see you next year at Finish Chelsea’s Run, I’ll be there with Sunflowers in my hair.

March 10, 2014

The Evolution of Prejudice

We have lost the opportunity to be a great individual in this country and I’m going to use a recent example to make my point.  It used to be, that you hated me for my color religion, gender or sexual preference. Today, you love me and show deference for the same reason. Whatever happened to letting me, be me, and you liking or hating me because of me?  I believe that we’ve over-corrected for our sins of the past. 

I just read the story about Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who told The New York Times and ESPN that he is gay, and that he plans to become the first openly gay player in the NFL.  "I am an openly, proud gay man," he told ESPN.  So I ask myself, why does Michael Sam need to announce his sexuality to the world?  I don’t have a problem with his sexuality, what he does is his choice, but why does it have to become a political issue?  I just don’t get it.  Does he realize that he’s no longer going to be looked at as Michael Sam, the defensive end in the NFL draft, but rather the gay NFL player?   There’s a Texas sports reporter, Dale Hansen, who gave a phenomenal speech on-air, in support of Michael Sam.  He was pointing out how as a society, we accept disgraceful behavior from other athletes, (i.e. abusing women, drugs, etc.), yet we continue to look up to them and take them as the top picks in the NFL draft, but, he says, “You love another man, now you’ve gone too far. It wasn’t that long ago when we were being told that black players couldn’t play in our games”. 

While Dale Hansen is spot on in his assessment of how we idolize and reward disgraceful behavior from professional athletes, I still can’t stop asking myself, why?  Why did Michael Sam have to make this announcement? My point is that until recently, if you were a gay person, you were hated for being gay without the other person ever knowing you. (Disgusting).  As that (gay person), you must ask, why do you hate me when you don’t even know me? Then the evolution took place and today, we like you and tread water around you because you are gay, even though we do not know you.

If we look past our prejudices (Gays, Italians, Irish, Blacks, Jews, Mexicans, Muslims, women, etc.) and look at the person: we love you, like you, or hate you because of the person you are, what your values stand for and your personality. The evolution is complete when we get to that stage. We are not there yet.  We are not even close.

Today, I read part of a speech by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who said, “Americans today are too sensitive about race”.  He was speaking to a group of college students in Palm Beach.  “My sadness is that we are probably today, more race and difference-conscious than I was in the 1960s when I went to school. To my knowledge, I was the first black kid in Savannah, Georgia, to go to a white school. Rarely did the issue of race come up.  Now, name a day it doesn’t come up.  Differences in race, differences in sex, somebody doesn’t look at you right, somebody says something.  Everybody is sensitive. If I had been as sensitive as that in the 1960s, I’d still be in Savannah. Every person in this room has endured a slight. Somebody has said something that has hurt their feelings or did something to them — left them out. That’s a part of the deal”. 

Sometimes I feel like the only safe thing to discuss with people is the weather, so that I don’t offend someone.  I can’t wait until the pendulum swings back around and we can actually like each other for their values, and not what someone deems politically correct.

What say you?  Email me at www.randiccrawford@gmail.com.

February 24, 2014

Roadmap to the Funeral Home... My Way of Remembering Phillip Seymour Hoffman

I just read about the untimely death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and I have a lot to say.  He was a brilliant actor, who portrayed every character with so much conviction, that to this day, I still don’t know whether or not he was guilty, in the movie Doubt, that he was in with Meryl Streep.  But his death, and what led up to it, is a direct roadmap to the funeral home.  I’m going to put it out there, and you decide for yourself.

This is so simple that anybody can follow along.  Pot is made and sold by criminals. In fact, all drugs that aren’t approved by the FDA are made and sold by criminals.  As a non-addict, ask yourself, “Would I trust a criminal with my life”?   And come on, we’ve all seen those AT&T ads with the guy, sitting on the floor, asking a group of adorable little kids simple questions, right?  He breaks it down quite literally - bigger is better, right? More is better than less, yes?  Getting what you want now is better than later, right?  Which leads us directly to an addict’s way of thinking.  If one drug is okay, then all drugs are okay, right?  Do you know what happens when one drug leads to other drugs?  You actually harm the decision-making side of your brain.  After all, why would an intelligent, successful and talented actor, buy heroin off the street, from a slime ball drug dealer?  Phillip Seymour Hoffman isn’t the only one who fell into this way of thinking.  Let’s look at the short list:  Corey Monteith, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Judy Garland, Jimi Hendrix, Chris Farley, John Belushi, Whitey Houtson, Corey Haim, Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, Marilyn Monroe, River Phoenix, Dana Plato, Elvis Presley, Amy Winehouse, and my favorite, Michael Jackson.  It makes you wonder, how twisted are we?

I don’t know the exact details because I didn’t personally know Mr. Hoffman, but I’m pretty sure that is how he began. He obviously graduated to more potent drugs and the acceptance of a false reality and narrative, which is that if a little, is okay, then a lot must be great.  Reports have said that they found 50 or more bags of heroin in his apartment as well as prescription drugs.  Here’s the flawed thinking of an addict:  If I find a seller, he must be okay.  If I used heroin in the past with no effect, this time will be okay too.  If smoking pot is okay, then heroin is okay. Even though others have died from drug overdoses, I know that I will be okay.

While it’s sad that Phillip Seymour Hoffman died on the floor of his apartment with a heroin needle sticking out of his left arm, I don’t want to glorify his life to my children.  I want them to know that he was wrong, and the premise that doing drugs is wrong, and believing that you “know your dealer” is wrong, and now he’s dead.  No matter how much the media portrays his “Hollywood” lifestyle, there’s nothing glamorous about his death.

I read a recent Miley Cyrus interview she did with Cosmopolitan magazine, and she said, "I love weed... I just love getting stoned." That’s great Miley, excellent role model for young girls?  Let’s not forget last month when she actually lit up on stage and was smoking pot, at the MTV Europe Music Awards after accepting the award for Best Video.
Her explanation, "I was just walking out of my room and then I was like 'Oh I have this joint in my bag, that will be really funny".   Would she still find it funny if they find some young girl dead in her bathroom of a drug overdose because she listened to her role model?  I don’t know about you, but I want to avoid this road map to the funeral home at all costs.
What say you?  Email me at www.randiccrawford@gmail.com