Thursday, October 25, 2018

WHAT EVER HAPPENED...? "Janetisms"

Brain injury or no brain injury, there are things that take place in everyday life that really bug me. As I often say, “it’s NOT the world according to me” (but, I really wish it were)…. My editor and I discussed the need for this somewhat conceited chapter (including that title up there) a few times. Here it is, so I guess you can figure out who “won” that debate. Since I’m quite sure I will NEVER write another book (this is exhausting work – kudos to all authors), here’s my list of unique thoughts/opinions which represent my “award-winning” personality. I just need to “say” these once and for all:

I have expressions that I’ve gathered over the years. Some of them are:
·       “heebie-jeebies” [when something grosses me out];
·       “hoity-toity” [snobbish];
·       “babbler” [someone who talks too much, like me];
·       “gazillion” [millions and millions and millions];
·       “mucky-mucks” [politicians, since I can’t remember their exact titles, like “senator,” “assemblyman,” etc.] This particular expression produced some giggles when I spoke at a hearing about brain injury in our state capitol (Albany, NY) in October 2015, as I looked at these politicians’ faces [see the appendix on the hearing.];
·       “ready, Freddie?” [when I was shopping with Aiden, to see if he was ready to leave. Aiden reminded me of my father sometimes. My dad’s name was Fred.];
·       “chilly-Willy” [when it’s cold];
·       “hyper-diaper” [when someone is all wound up];
·       “mushy-gushy’ [the way I describe cards I want for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, etc.]
·       “mumbo-jumbo” [for someone saying something that I don’t understand]
·       “gobbledygook” [what I say in reference to lots of words I don’t understand anymore.]

Besides expressions, I have other examples of things that I just need to say:
·       While I am paying at a cash register and the clerk is counting out the money I just handed over, someone interrupts and asks that same clerk a question, so then I have to wait for his or her response to the rude interrupter before my transaction is completed. Sometimes their banter goes back and forth while I just stand there. Couldn’t the non-emergency question have waited its turn? Almost worse is when other store personnel interrupt for trivial reasons, as just happened to me as I wrote this chapter.

·       Smokers who throw their cigarette butts everywhere except in the correct spot. I live near a nursing home that provided a place for their employees to extinguish their butts, but the ground all around was still covered anyway. It looks like a giant ashtray, just like many other places do. Also – smokers, who at an outdoor event like a concert, ruin the fun time for the rest of us by smoking while we try to breathe in the clean air.

·       Folks in grocery stores who don’t know how to read the signs that say, “10 items or less,” so they back up the rest of us who do know how to read. Some store employees tell those with too many items to go on these lines, which defeats the original purpose.

·       Coupons being cut out while in the line vs. being organized ahead of time. It’s also a bit of “fun” with the buyers arguing with the clerk about saving a few pennies when a coupon isn’t used the way they expected.

·       Movie theater patrons who ignore the announcements about turning off cell phones. I’ve had to sit through MANY movies, trying to enjoy what I paid money for, while someone near me uses the cell phone, and the bright light and the sound are distracting. 
      Also, stop talking during the movie, you’re not in your living room. I really “love” patrons who arrive late, and even though there are plenty of open seats, they pick the ones right in front of me, blocking my view, though I planned the timing correctly. And finally, how about you open that candy wrapper during a loud movie scene vs. during a quiet portion, so that we all get to hear the important dialogue?

·       Neighbors who are so self-absorbed that they pull in and out of the parking areas in a condo setting (thus, lots of others to be disturbed at the same time) with music blaring so loud from their car’s stereo system that it’s deafening! They’re the same narcissistic bunch that blare their horns or beep their car locks at any given time of the day or night. If they are awake, they don’t care if they wake you up. And, when their dog (or dogs) poops in the shared lawn area, they leave it there whenever they don’t feel like cleaning it up. The disturbances from all of their family feuds bring lots more noise – the screaming vulgarities, the doors being slammed, the sidewalks cluttered with household belongings thrown outside during fits of rage, the many police visits, etc. 
     What’s so unbelievable is that all of the examples that I just wrote about are from ONE family only. I’m sure there are readers that could add to this list because of their own neighbor stories. I know the Bible says, “Love thy neighbor,” so that’s the only reason I have never talked to them about these items. I once wrote a letter to them about how a dog of theirs traumatized my dog, but that’s the only contact I’ve ever made, since I don’t trust myself enough to behave the way God instructs us to.

·       Drivers who run through stop signs and red lights, text while driving, handle cell phones while driving, tailgate, don’t turn down high beams, cut me off, and on and on and on…. I think my tolerance of these selfish behaviors has diminished greatly because of how frequently they occur.

·       Noisy patrons in restaurants sometimes really agitate me. It’s not just my hyper-sensitive hearing. They talk so loudly, they can be heard from across the room! Once, in a lovely breakfast spot, I had to listen to an entire large family discuss the blood, guts, and gore stories of their loved one who was in a hospital. And recently, I was in a fancy restaurant and had to listen to a husband and wife discuss with their waitress why the husband looked so thin (diarrhea and vomiting stories). Isn’t all of that really appetizing? Once, when I was out at a dinner with a group of my friends at a very long table for 11 of us, someone at the other end of that table started talking about bird poop on her car, while we were all eating our lunch. I put down my sandwich, and while I was grossed out, I listened to others join in the conversation with her, not bothered by it at all. I was thinking, Is it just me who thinks restaurants are not the place for disgusting subjects? A day or so later, I read in an advice column that others would appreciate it if these types of discussions did not take place. I felt better then. It isn't just me.

I’m sure other people have some of their own “isms.” What are yours?

For the coming year, I (Douglas Winslow Cooper) will be excerpting, weekly, material from this almost-final version of the fine book by Janet Johnson Schliff, M.S. Ed., which she wrote over a three-year period with some coaching and editing help from me, through my business, Write Your Book with Me.

Her memoir is now available in paperback and ebook formats from Outskirts Press  and

What Ever Happened to My White Picket Fence? My Brain Injury from My Massive Brain Tumor



Janet Johnson Schliff spoke at the Oblong Books Bookstore in Rhinebeck, NY, on Tuesday, February 6 at 6 p.m.

Janet was on WKNY Radio 1490 in Kingston, NY, on Thursday, March 1 at 9:10 a.m. 

Janet spoke at Barnes & Noble in Kingston, NY, on Saturday, March 3 at 1 p.m. 

Janet spoke at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on March 6 
at 7 p.m. 

Janet spoke at the Golden Notebook Bookstore in Woodstock, NY, on March 17 at 2 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Morton Library in Rhinecliff, NY, on March 28 at 6:30 p.m. 

Janet spoke at RCAL in Kingston, NY, on April 3 at 4 p.m. [They gave her an impromptu book-launch party.]

Janet spoke at the Parkinson's Support Group at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on April 4 at 2:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Stone Ridge Library in Stone Ridge, NY, on April 27 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Hurley Library in Hurley, NY, on May 4 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Kingston Library in Kingston, NY, on May 9 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Staatsburg Library in Staatsburg, NY, on May 14 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Clinton Community Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on May 31 at 6:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville, NY, on June 9 at noon.

Janet spoke at the Gardiner Library in Gardiner, NY, on June 11 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Marbletown Community Center in Stone Ridge, NY, on June 20 at 6 p.m.

Janet was interviewed on radio station WTBQ-FM (93.5) on June 29 at 12 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Esopus Library in Port Ewen, NY, on July 13 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Pine Plains Library in Pine Plains, NY, on July 20 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Ulster Library in Kingston, NY, on July 23 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Northern Dutchess Bible Church in Red Hook, NY, on August 11 at 1 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore in New Paltz, NY, on September 6 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Adriance Library in Poughkeepsie, NY, on September 15 at 2:30 p.m.

Janet was interviewed on radio station WRIP-FM (97.9) on September 21 at 8 a.m.

Janet again spoke at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville, NY, on September 22 at noon.

Janet spoke at the Enchanted Cafe in Red Hook, NY, on September 28 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Hyde Park Library in Hyde Park, NY, on October 4 at 7 p.m.

Janet participated in an Author Weekend at the Barnes & Noble in Poughkeepsie, NY, on October 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Tivoli Library in Tivoli, NY, on October 22 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet’s interview for the TV program Wake Up with Marci on the You Too America Channel is currently scheduled to air on Monday, November 5, and Friday, November 9.

Janet will be speaking at the Germantown Library in Germantown, NY, on November 7 at 6:00 p.m.

More signings will be coming up. A fine feature about Janet by John DeSantos [845 LIFE] appeared in the Middletown Times Herald-Record on Monday, March 12, as part of Brain Injury Awareness Month. An article about her book was just published in the May 2018 Living Rhinebeck Magazine. An article about her book appeared in the May 14 Daily Freeman of Kingston, NY. and another in the Family Life section of the Poughkeepsie Journal on June 8th. The Millerton News published an article on Thursday, August 2, about her talk at the Pine Plains Library. 

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