What Would Ellen DeGeneres Do?

I recently discovered an app on my phone (thanks to an awesome gal pal) that allows you to download audiobooks and ebooks to your mobile device. What makes this app (Overdrive) special is that you’re downloading it from your local public library FOR FREE.

Free is absolutely the best price.

You borrow the title, much like you would a physical book, download it, and then return it by clicking a button when your 21 days (usually) are over.

So simple, so easy, so worth it.

I commute to work and so this app has been life changing for the few days that it’s been living on my iPhone. The first title I downloaded was “Seriously…I’m Kidding” by none other than the amazingly wonderful Ellen DeGeneres. 

I’d previously tried reading this book, but couldn’t get into it which is crazy because I love this woman and her show. 

Many of the chapters, some just a paragraph long, are a bit nonsensical and stream of consciousness–it’s hard to get into it simply by reading from page to page. Downloading the audiobook and listening to it in her own words (she’s narrating) makes it fresh, hilarious, and easy to get lost in. It’s kind of like being at a personal one-on-one stand-up show and it’s hard to stop listening once my drive is over. In fact, there have been a few nights recently where I sit in my car cracking up, hoping the neighbors walking by don’t contact a psych ward.

Ellen’s her usual upbeat self in this book–though she does use some language I’ve never heard her use before (she drops the “B” word in one goofy rant). But as always, she encourages people to be helpful, considerate, and kind to one another. She also talks about the many benefits of keeping a positive outlook and attitude. I definitely heard this section of the book at the right time because I had an encounter today that put me in a bit of a funk:

Yesterday, the USPS incorrectly mailed a letter that I had sent to the wrong address. Instead of sending it to the person that I had intended, they sent it back to me. Never mind that the stamp was on the correct side of the envelope and that everything was written legibly. Because I put my own return address in tiny writing on the back flap instead of the front left corner, they sent it to me instead. I was especially upset because the piece of mail was a thank you card, time sensitive to my own standards, and contained a gift card for the person that gave me my informational interview.

I walked back to that same post office and stood in line waiting for the clerk to finish up with a man who seemed pretty ticked off. Both the customer and the clerk clearly learned English as a second language and were batting some pretty heated words back and forth. To top it all, the customer had a third party on the phone arguing with the clerk about whether or not he could mass ship whatever it was he was trying to ship.

The man was rude and aggressive and refused to leave even after she told him that she was unable to help him. Instead of being a shrinking violet, the female clerk gave it right back.

Good for her, I thought. That is…until it was my turn.

I walked up to the counter.

“Hi, I came in a few days ago and mailed this letter–it was mistakenly sent to me–”

Before I could finish my sentence, she had snatched the letter from my hand, scribbled out my return address that I had painstakingly written and scribbled along the barcode on the envelope. By the time she was through with penning these black masses all over my envelope, I figured the pen must certainly be out of ink.

“You write it wrong! You write it here!” she barked as she pointed to the top left corner of the front of the envelope before throwing it back at me.

“Umm…can I use your pen please?”

She drops it on the counter.

I quickly scribe my address, noting that the presentation of the gift was completely screwed, and booked it out of there.

I felt angry and upset as I walked back to my job. I understood that she was dealing with a tense situation, but I’m a new customer–a new situation–and I don’t deserve to have such negative energy thrust upon me because someone else acted like a complete douche-canoe.

I took a minute to note that I was indeed fuming and that maybe I should calm the heck down. WWED? What Would Ellen Do? [Yes, there is a chapter in her book entitled “What Would Jesus Do?”]

She’d breathe deeply, maybe do some dancing, and let it roll off her back.

Which is what I did…after making a voodoo doll of the rude customer and sticking it with my sharpest pins and needles. Change takes a long time, y’all.

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Connecticut.

After the awful tragic events of this morning, America quickly spiraled into the inevitable Blame Game.

Who’s at fault according to Facebook?

  1. It’s gun control laws that made this happen.
  2. It’s America’s inattention to mental illness.
  3. It’s because God is angry at people for taking Bible Teachings out of schools.
  4. It’s the shooter’s fault, and nothing else.
  5. It’s Hollywood’s fault for inundating our children with violence.

I’m definitely onboard with the first half of #4 but I’m not sure that’s the only explanation for why America can’t seem to get mass shootings under control.

As for the rest of those accusations, I’m not going to entertain any of those today. Today I’m going to remember the little ones, teachers, and the surviving parents and family members that are grieving over the loss of their loved ones.

There are so many opinions on facebook laced with hatred and intolerance that it isn’t any wonder that bad things happen every day. I’m sad to say I fed into it, myself.

Then, I took a deep breath, made some adjustments, and realized that the best way for me to combat negative energy like that would be to put out positive energy.

I think I’m a Realist by nature, but today I am feeling incredibly pessimistic about us as a society, and the human race at large.

I’m not sure there’s an answer to these kinds of problems and I’m not sure that America can change it’s ways. Heck, I’m not even sure we’re all willing.

I am sure that I’m going to call my niece and nephew tonight and tell them how much I love them. I am sure that I’m  going to think about all the little ones I’ve cared for over the last 10 years and be truly thankful that they’re safe and sound with their parents.

Ellen DeGeneres ends each one of her talk show episodes by charging her viewers to “be kind to one another”.

I am going to do just that.