Wednesday, October 31, 2018

WHAT EVER HAPPENED....? "Me, Me, Me" or "Stop!"

I’m not really sure if the behaviors I’m about to list in this chapter bother me so much because of my brain injury or if they would bother me anyway. I wonder, as I gather these thoughts, do these examples drive anyone else, other than myself, crazy??? I do know that each and every day that I venture out into the world, more and more selfish behaviors by others are noticed by me. I work desperately hard NOT to comment each time they take place! Here are some comments I haven’t made to the people involved, but they still need to be expressed:

·       Stop touching food with your hands at any sort of buffet line, and then put it back. I've witnessed this disgusting habit in restaurants, church events, and parties. If you touch it, take it! Don't leave it for someone else to eat unknowingly. [Also – stop double-dipping anything, unless you are home.]

·       Stop giving “quizzes” as a way of introducing a topic in any social gathering. It's an automatic turn-off for people who don't know the correct answers, while others sitting near them are squirming with delight about what they know and thus, shouting out the answers.

·       Stop coughing/screaming/sneezing, etc. into the phone when you're speaking to someone. This is very painful to hear. Cover the mouthpiece, if possible, and speak in a lower volume if you want to be listened to. [I know I have to work on my loudness too.]

·       Stop talking about other patients within earshot of patients sitting in the doctor office’s waiting room if you are a receptionist. What do you say about us when we’re not there???

·       Stop printing incorrect times for plays, special events, etc. in the newspapers. Many times I've arrived at what was printed, only to find out I'm very early, very late, or there on the wrong date. I show the printed information to whomever, and all I usually get is a shrug. Please check your work.

·       Stop getting mad at me because I actually stop at a stop sign. I am the one following the law. And while you’re at it, stop waving me on to breeze through it when I haven’t even stopped yet.

·       Stop putting me on speaker-phone without my permission, since I think I’m speaking only to you, but I actually can be heard by others.

·       Stop texting, mommies and daddies, at the restaurant table when your kiddies are being ignored. Once, as I was compiling this chapter, I actually played peek-a-boo with a little one as her parents “played” on their cell phones and didn’t even notice this stranger (me) involved with their child!

·       Stop being phony. I can’t stand it when certain people act all warm and friendly when it’s just the two of us, but when others are around, I get the cold shoulder.

·       Stop expecting me to be all warm and friendly to you when someone else has told me what you said about me behind my back. I’ll be polite and say, “Hello,” but I’m not going to be friendly with a, “Hi! How are you?”

·       Stop walking your dog but then leaving his/her poop to be cleaned up by someone else (or worse yet – being accidentally stepped on). As a dog owner, please be responsible and clean up after your pet.

·       Stop racing your car through parking lots so those of us walking with our coffee, groceries, children, pets, etc. do not almost get hit by you. [Actually – as I was practically finished with this chapter, I heard a story about a store employee who got hit by a car in the parking lot right after she clocked out. She had to go to the hospital. Slow down, everyone. You’ll get there soon enough!]

·       Stop filing your nails at restaurant tables. Also: stop taking off your shoes or boots there, brushing your hair, etc. Too many people these days think they’re home when they’re not.

·       Stop screaming, cheering, clapping (or anything else that’s loud) in restaurants. I know too many eating establishments have TVs nowadays, so you can watch whatever instead of actually communicating with the folks at your table, but some “old-fashioned talkers” like myself actually enjoy conversations vs. TV entertainment. I try to limit taking my patronage there. [Thank you, Vinny, for the help you gave me that fun time we had dinner together.]

·       Stop telling all the gory details of a movie you just went to see, while the rest of us are within earshot. First of all – maybe we don’t want to hear it all before we go ourselves. And second of all – just because you can “stomach” those nasty, violent scenes, maybe some of us just can’t. [This example happened at a diner as I was completing this chapter. But – then, ironically, something happened another time I visited at that very same diner. As I walked in to eat breakfast, I hit my head on the electric box outside. I was bleeding from the right side of my head. Blood was on my hands. The wait staff there helped Aiden get me cleaned up and on ice. Thanks, Kathleen and Nick!]

·       Stop being rude. If someone takes the time to hold the door open for you at a place of business, the least you can do is say, “Thanks.”

·       Stop littering!

·       Stop criticizing those of us who arrive early. Again, as I was compiling this chapter, I arrived 10 minutes early for an appointment. The woman at the counter said, “You’re really early!” Really?!! 10 minutes isn’t that early!

·       Stop talking during the church service about things going on in your life when the organist, the pianist, or other instrumentalists are playing the music they have taken time to practice. Some of us want to listen to the beautiful music instead of how it went at your doctor’s appointment, etc. [This has happened at every single church I have ever attended. Sometimes I’ve been the culprit.]

·       Stop tailgating me when there is bad weather causing dangerous road conditions, and, therefore, I’m driving slower.

·       Stop passing me on double yellow lines because of my above-mentioned slow driving.
·       Stop lying! Eventually, the truth will come out.

·       Stop “forgetting your manners” when a “please” and/or a “thank you” is in order; please remember to communicate them.

·       Stop leaving your chair out when you get up – someone might trip over it.

·       Stop minding everyone else’s business. Mind your own.

·       Stop coughing and sneezing all over everyone out in public. If you are sick, stay home. Some of us have compromised immune systems, and your germs make us end up at a doctor’s office or in the hospital.

·       Stop finishing my sentences. I’ll say what I want, not what you think I should.
·       Stop telling me how to do something. Unless I’ve asked for your opinion and/or your help, I want to learn on my own.

·       Stop breast-feeding with your breast completely exposed in public. Some of us are uncomfortable with that.  Once, I was at a restaurant when many men were staring at a woman baring her entire breast as she fed her baby, while the women with those men were obviously upset with them for gawking. Thank you to the mommies who use those covers to do this beautiful thing. [I’m not the only person who feels this way. Many have written to advice columnists about this very subject and express their similar feelings.]

·       Stop talking during someone’s performance. If you don’t want to watch, leave so the rest of us can enjoy the show. At concerts, plays, or any other public performance, it really irks me how many people talk throughout the much-rehearsed performance. Once, I was at Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular, and two women right behind me talked about their boyfriends, nail salon appointments, etc., throughout the show. What was “Spectacular” was that I bit my tongue! [Kudos to Director Lisë Landis Hopson for telling her audience to please be quiet during the performances at her shows at Kingston Catholic School.]

·       Stop noisily clearing snow, leaves, etc. at the crack of dawn. Some of us want to sleep, read, or have quiet time in the early morning. [As I wrote this, snow was being cleared from the sidewalk, by not a snow blower but a loud leaf blower, at 5:55 A.M.!]

·       Stop ignoring others. Turn your cell phone off. You’ll live without it for a few minutes as you walk on sidewalks, in malls, etc., and then you won’t keep bumping into those of us who actually don’t need to behave like that for validation. [I heard on Good Morning America as I compiled this chapter that pedestrian deaths are up 10% according to a recent study.]

·       Stop being so selfish. When you attend a concert, ballgame, etc., try to get your drinks ahead of time. [I actually observed a group of drinkers yell at this nice older woman, at the end of their row at an indoor concert, because she got tired of moving to the aisle for their umpteenth trip for more beer.]

·       Stop leaving doggies outside in bad weather with no food or water. If I see that, I call the authorities. I always will.

·       Stop hovering by the coffee dispensers at a function when there are others waiting to get their cup, creamer, and sugar. Get yours and then move away to chat somewhere else.

·       Stop letting your kiddies kick the backs of seats at a performance. This really can ruin the enjoyment of the show.

·       Stop talking so loud in libraries. I know it’s allowed in many of them nowadays, but when you’re doing that, some of us can’t concentrate on the work we are there to do. [I just met with a librarian who told me it’s OK to talk loudly in some libraries because they are “social gathering places.” I’d still prefer quiet.]

·       Stop looking at newspapers in stores and then putting them back instead of purchasing them, with all of the sections mixed up or missing. Some of us actually pay for them and then return home with less than we paid for. I’ve watched people remove coupons and sports sections without paying for them!

·       Stop parking in handicapped spots when you’re not handicapped yourself or not driving for someone who is. People that use those red or blue tags because someone in their family gave it to them, but are not along for the ride, are wrong. Those parking spots are there for a reason – not for your convenience. On the September 2, 2016, ABC show, What Would You Do?, there was an episode where this topic was presented: parking in handicapped spots. I LOVED the folks, not knowing they were being filmed, who were scolding the girls (actresses) for taking up one of these spots. I love it when people defend what's right! I knew as soon as I watched this episode, I'd be adding it here. If you're not handicapped, get out of the way for those who are! [My friend Marian loves to tell the story about how I once went into a restaurant and yelled at someone for doing this. I don’t remember that, but I believe her.]

·       Stop parking your big SUV in a spot labeled for compact cars. There’s a woman who does this at a doctor’s office I go to regularly. She’s lucky I haven’t said, “Can’t you read?”

·       Stop using the word “retard.” It truly hurts the feelings of some people who are developmentally disabled or who love someone who is. As a teacher, I’ve witnessed this first-hand too many times to count! Once, a famous person said this word on a talk show, and two families I used to teach years ago left messages on my answering machine telling me about it. I sent a letter to the star’s manager asking the celebrity to apologize, and I explained why. I never heard back. I still boycott all of this star’s TV show reruns and movies. Once, when a relative of mine used “retard,” I flew off the handle. Recently, I was at a Mother’s Day tea, and I was shocked when a retired teacher said, “Are they retarded?” when we spoke about mistakes in newspapers. Name-calling really hurts.

·       Stop taking my money for services you provided, then you do not provide a receipt but then say, “You could have asked.” Really? That very sentence infuriated me once when I paid for service as I wrote this chapter.

·       Stop walking up to two people talking and then rudely interrupt their discussion so you can speak to one of them. Wait your turn!

·       Stop teacher-bashing: I will NOT tolerate anyone bashing the teaching profession. Some people think it’s okay to criticize teachers just because once upon a time, they attended school. Guess what? Unless you’ve done the job, you’re no expert in the field! There are a few teachers who give the rest of us a bad name, but overall, teachers do an exemplary job of helping our youth grow into adults. They put in countless hours of overtime. The relentless state testing and mandates are grueling.  I used to spend much time on Sundays writing lesson plans. I brought many piles of things to correct, look over, plan, etc., on countless vacations and holidays. I went in early and stayed late. And, I’m not the only teacher who did all this. Many teachers, like myself, had jobs in the summer also. So many people comment about our vacation time. Those breaks are well-deserved because of how tiresome our jobs are…. These women and men deserve that much-needed time off to recharge. Teachers deserve more respect for how much they do! Unless you’ve done that job, you have no idea how hard it can be. [And by the way – many teachers need second jobs to help pay the bills.] Please, please, please thank a teacher instead of criticizing. It means all the world to hear a compliment instead of something negative. That lousy expression, “Those who can, do – and those who can’t, teach,” could NOT be more inaccurate. It takes a very special person to be in charge of a classroom. Thank you to those of you that do that every day! I know many of you put your heart and soul into your profession.

·       Stop writing this, Janet! You could go on and on forever….

Some may wonder why I included this list of selfish behaviors in my book. I figured that this creation of mine will probably be the only chance I get to immortalize my opinions. I seriously doubt I’ll be an author again (this took a LOT of time and effort), so I will probably only get one chance to “tell it like it is” in writing.

I just pray that our society becomes nicer to each other. I know that I need to work on that. What about you?

I (Douglas Winslow Cooper) have been 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 was scheduled to air on Monday, November 5, and Friday, November 9.

Janet spoke 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. 

No comments:

Post a Comment