Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where Are The Helmets?

Biking is catching on.

Maybe it's the high gas prices.

Maybe it's the environmentalists.

Maybe it's the exercise.

Whatever it is, I'm pretty okay with it. (Although they do make me nervous as a driver when we share the road.)

I just want to know ONE thing: Where are the helmets??

For some reason, these Yeshiva bachurim are under the impression that their black hats will protect them as well -- if not better than -- their helmets.

I understand this poses a problem for boys who want to ride their bikes to yeshiva and don't want a dorky basket on their bikes. They can't leave it in Yeshiva because they need it for Maariv.

Biking to school is a good idea. But what happens with the helmet/hat scenario?

I also see young children rollerblading through the streets without helmets.

I don't get it.

Do these parents teach their kids that it's better to look "cool"while risking their lives and health than to look like a dork for an hour (or however long they're out)??

I have seen fathers biking with their sons, ALL wearing helmets. (I seriously wanted to stop the guy and tell him how much I respect him and what a good example he's setting, but I'm not 80. And I'm not THAT weird.)

If the parents do it themselves and set an example for their kids, they'll be more likely to do so. Peer pressure is one thing when it comes to a belt or a shirt, but helmets are another story.

So you might say the parents sent the kid out with a helmet, but they took it off. Somehow I doubt that.

How many unfortunate accidents C"V would it take for these kids to realize the importance of helmets?

" of children hospitalized for a bicycle-related injury were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, a statistic that is significant for its correlation to the number of injuries that may be preventable through the use of bicycle helmets."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yeah, I'm Being Judgmental Again

The supermarket was pretty empty.

Each register had 2 customers in line, max.

I had a basket with a few items, and found an open register.

As the cashier is ringing me up, I start fumbling through my thoroughly disorganized knapsack for my wallet. A woman shows up behind me. "I just have to find my wallet," I tell her with a friendly smile.

"Great, so now I'll get a ticket," she rolled her eyes in response.

"Well, then why don't you try parking legally?" was on the tip of my tongue. I'm good with the sharp retorts, people.

"Sorry, that wasn't my intention," I said aloud, blushing.

I looked at the other relatively empty registers, contemplating recommending them to her, figuring that by the time she got there, someone with a full cart would get right in front of her, and someone with more items would get behind me.

"Sign, please," the cashier interrupted my thoughts as she handed me the receipt. Should I sign really slowly? I asked myself, my chest tightening.

"Now! Now! Say it now!!" the voice in my head dictated.

I looked back at her, thinking this is my last chance. She tapped her finger impatiently on her box of ices.

"Sorry," I said again, as I hurriedly picked up my bags and left.

The steam coming out of my ears might have been visible when I left the store.

Why can't the woman park legally? or do without the ices?

I'd understand the scenario had this been in a pharmacy where it's extremely difficult to park. Meds are important. They can be earth-shattering.

Park legally, and you won't have this problem. Or do without the item. Yes, I should have been more responsible and had my wallet out sooner, but what if an item I was purchasing wasn't in the computer, and she had to ask someone? Don't leave your car unattended at a hydrant or bus stop for freakin' ices. Invest an extra quarter in the meter. Or do without it.

Sometimes people actually do feed the meter, and end up either losing track of time, or getting held up. In that case, I completely sympathize with the person. But if she knew she only had 2 minutes on the meter, either leave, or add another quarter.

I was just peeved at the attitude this woman gave me when I was clearly being apologetic to her.
It was NOT my fault had she gotten a ticket. It's not my fault she decided to park illegally and act like a total bitch to me.

On a separate note, I wondered whether the situation would have been the same had she been of the modern ilk, rather than the "yeshivish." But then again, that's part of the not-really-ever-proven stereotype of "modern people are more polite and have better middot than the yeshivish."

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Jewish Press: A dose of reality

Since 10th grade when I mentioned The Jewish Press in class, I've been around a lot of JP-bashing.

"The Jewish Press is not our type of paper," my teacher gently reprimanded me.

Honestly, I can't remember if they covered the topics they do now in the "Family Issues" section way back when, but even so, it wasn't "our type of paper."

Well, that's too bad, since my mom's been reading it for over 30 years.

As far as I know, it's the Rachel Bluth "Agunah Chronicles," which became "Chronicles of Crises" a couple of years ago, that's been getting people hot under the collar.

People have complained that they discuss inappropriate topics. To name a few, the most memorable ones have been the porn-addicted husbands, women whose husbands are friends with other women, men who lust after other frum married women, and feel that their marriage would be more loving and fulfilled with these other women, homosexuality, and lack of a sex life.
Even Dr. Yael talked about infidelity.

Here's the deal, though: These are REAL issues that people in our community face.

There are gay frum Jews. Deal with it. (Although some might consider "gay and frum" to be an oxymoron.)

Guys cheat. Guys gamble. Women cheat. Women gamble. Women do "favors" for other "frum," married men. Guys lust after other frum married women. We're not above this. Idealists like to think we are, but we aren't.

It's 2008. Things change. Society today is much more open than it was even 30 years ago, and these people who are suffering need a forum in which to discuss their plight.

This column, I'm sure, has helped many people in need, as well as informing the public of issues that we face.

To deny that there are frum couples who cheat would be foolish and naive. To deny that frum men, even ones who look yeshivish, enjoy pornography would be unintelligent.

The letters in these columns demonstrate the realities of frum life of America 2008. If you don't like it, you don't have to read it. They don't claim to be anything they're not.

To the credit of the Jewish Press, they made it into an insert that can be easily removed from the paper before the kids get home from school.

What it comes down to is, if people disapprove of its content, they have the Yated and Hamodia which haplessly idealistic about Republicanism and Frumkeit and basically publish AP stores

Would you rather bury your head in the sand and pretend these issues don't exist?
What will that accomplish?