Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tazi's Annual Veterans' Day Tribute

Dear Readers:

Today is Veteran's Day. Whether your political stripes are Republican red, Independent white, or Democrat blue, today is a day to remember those - living and dead - who put our country and Her interests above their own, and signed on to serve in the U.S. Military.

The jobs of our Soldiers, Airmen/Airwomen, Navymen/Navywomen and Marines are not like our own. They cannot call out sick because the weather is nice and they wish to take a personal day. If, after signing on, they decide they do not like the job, they cannot simply quit - they must honor the multi-year commitment they have made to serve. When they are told that they are being transferred or deployed, they cannot say "no". They go where their leaders send them, be it across the country and away from family and friends; or across the world and into imminent danger. How many of us show such loyalty to our employers? 

Whether an enlisted member or an officer, employment in the U.S. Military is more than just a job, more than just a career: it is a way of life. When they leave the "office" for the day - whether the office really is an office, or whether it is a ship or a training field or a battle site - the members of our U.S. Military do not stop representing, even if they are out of uniform; and even when they have long since retired from active duty. How many of us show such pride for our profession?

Our country's laws protect our civil rights, preventing our employers from forcing us to complete tasks that we find morally objectionable. The members of our U.S. Military give up many of these protections when they join the service. For the most part, they do not get to choose their job assignment; it is chosen for them based upon their abilities; and they do their job to the best of their abilities, even if they would prefer to be doing something else. How many of us are so accommodating of our employers?

If we, as civilians, disagree with a decision our company leaders make, we can openly argue. If a Military Journalist finds the U.S. position on foreign affairs objectionable s/he had better keep that opinion out of the articles, Editorials, and opinion pieces they write; and keep cheering for the decisions of their Commander in Chief, regardless of their true feelings. The rest of our U.S. Military must also tow the "company line", and keep dissenting opinions out of their blogs and away from the ears of their commanding officers. How many of us are so supportive of our Chief Executives? And how many of us could learn to keep our mouths shut so well?

Being a member of our U.S. Military involves sacrifice that civilians will never understand; but it also provides rewards that civilians will never experience. Being a member of the U.S. Military means you are part of a brother-and-sisterhood that goes beyond self-interest, beyond cultural background, beyond the color of your skin. It is to know that whoever you are, and wherever you are, there are those who are willing to put their life on the line to protect the importance of your mission. How many of us can say that about our co-workers?

Whatever your political stripes; whatever your beliefs on war and military spending; please take the time to say "Thank You" to a Veteran for the sacrifices they make to secure, protect, and preserve our American way of life. In the words of one Veteran - who I am certain speaks for more than self - a Veteran of the U.S. Military has "defended those who hate me, fought those who where afraid of me, aided those who didn't know me, and took shots for those who were with me".

How many of us can claim to be so selfless? 

Wishing you all a Happy Veterans' Day, and sending a great big THANK YOU to all of our country's Veterans!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Friday, April 17, 2015

After The Wedding, It Is REALLY Time To Grow Up!

Dear Tazi:

When I was a child, a unicorn was my imaginary friend. I would watch My Little Pony cartoons and wish I could be magically transported to the land of Ponyville where I could live with all the ponies and their friends. I am now an adult and am preparing to be married. My fiancé is unaware of my imaginary friend, but he is aware of my love of unicorns and has graciously given in to having a unicorn and rainbow themed wedding. The reception hall will be decorated like Ponyville and the wedding favors will be My Little Pony ponies with our names and wedding date airbrushed on the sides.

Welcome to Ponyville!

I realize that all of this sounds like a dream come true, but I am afraid it will all turn into a nightmare after my husband discovers that I have a stuffed unicorn and My Little Pony collection big enough to fill a good sized basement. My mother has held onto my collection for me, but has always said that once I am married with a place of my own she wants her basement back. My fiancé owns his own home, and it is into his house we will be moving after the wedding. His basement is furnished and has a huge bar with a sports theme throughout, including many signed collectibles. I couldn’t possibly ask him to make room for Ponyville – his friends are already giving him a hard time about the Ponyville themed wedding.

Could you please print my letter in your column? I am hoping that my fiancé will see it and realize how important my unicorn and My Little Pony collection is to me, and that he will then offer me room to re-create Ponyville alongside his sports kingdom. It’s the only way I can think of to save Ponyville!

Pony Girl

Dear Pony Girl:

Men everywhere are going to hate me for printing this letter, but here it is anyway – but only because Hasbro, a Rhode Island based company, makes My Little Pony and I never miss an opportunity to promote a local enterprise.

If you are afraid to ask your fiancé/husband directly for something that should tell you that your request is probably a selfish one. Put yourself in his shoes: Would you give up your Ponyville wedding for a sports-themed extravaganza, complete with mini football helmets for favors? I didn’t think so; therefore, I give my full support to the resounding “NO!” that your fiancé is going to give you. As for what happens to Ponyville, that is up to you and your mother. If she wants her basement back, I suggest you box it up and rent a storage facility; or better yet donate your collection to the local children’s hospital, so a new generation of children can enjoy these wonderful toys and so you can feel the fulfillment that comes with letting go in order to help others.


P.S. Your fiancé sounds like a saint!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life A "Cluster-Fluke" For Woman Who Believed Unfounded Gossip

Dear Tazi:

My life has turned into one big, giant cluster-fluke and I need some help sorting things out. I come from a large family with several sisters and many female cousins; we all grew up very close and that closeness has not faded, even though we are now all adults with families of our own.

My problem started about two years ago, right after my youngest sister got married. Her husband “Sam” told me that, as much as it pained him to say it, he had to let me know that my cousin “Marcy” was gossiping about me and my sisters, telling him all kinds of dirty laundry as her way of welcoming him to the family. Although I had never known Marcy to gossip I had no reason to believe that Sam would lie about her, so I believed Sam.

Rather than confronting Marcy directly, I needled her every chance I got. If she commented on my Facebook page or pictures I posted, I would attack her – right there on my page, not in a private message – for some imagined slight in her words. When she apologized, I saw it as my chance to attack her further. Finally, Marcy got sick of it and told me that she “apparently only opens her mouth to change feet” and would stop posting anything to my page. I took this as an opportunity to gleefully and publicly announce that was going to unfriend her, since looking without commenting is creeping, and then I did just that. That was a year and a half ago, and I have not spoken to Marcy since.

Over the last year and a half my marriage has taken a downward spiral as my husband finds more and more reasons to stay out of the house and away from me and the kids. I have not said anything to my family, who think my marriage is picture-perfect – a façade I can uphold because I live an hour and a half away from the rest of my family. However, I live in a small town where nobody’s business is private and everyone here knows how much time my husband spends down at the bar. Enter Marcy, who just got a new job working in my small town.

The rest of our family does not know that we are not speaking; they just assume that we never see each other because we are both too busy to visit. When I heard Marcy was working in my town, I waited for her outside of work one night to talk to her, face-to-face, and tell her that I would appreciate it if she did not gossip about me to the rest of the family; that anything she heard in town should stay in town. Marcy looked at me icily and replied, “I have never gossiped about you in the past, why would I start now?” She asked me to give her regards to my Mom, got in her car, and drove off, leaving me to wonder if Marcy had forgotten all of the cruel things she had said about me and my sisters or if Sam had by lying about it.

I have been unable to get a moment’s peace since that conversation with Marcy. I need to know if she was telling the truth or if Sam’s story is the real one. I am worried that Marcy will tell my family about my marital issues (she has to know, everyone else in town does). If she is a gossip, she must have sworn everyone she told to secrecy; no phone calls from family have come in yet. If she is not a gossip, this means Sam was lying to me – but I have no idea why! I have noticed that Sam likes to be the center of attention, but he usually just blows his own horn and brags; I have never heard him put someone else down or tell tales about them.

So, to recap: my marriage is secretly a mess, the cousin I scolded into humiliation is the only family member who knows this, she may be a gossip but my brother-in-law might be lying and I have no idea which is true so I have no idea who to confront, nor do I know if my private business is going to be the next topic at the family barbecue! 

Bothered And Bewildered

Dear Bothered And Bewildered:

Wow. You are living quite a soap opera, aren't you? The worst part of all this is that you have brought it upon yourself by believing…gossip about Marcy! When Sam came to you with an unfounded – and difficult to believe – accusation that Marcy was gossiping about you he in turn was spreading a rumor about Marcy; instead of approaching Marcy and sorting out all the confusion, you acted as judge and jury and condemned her on the spot. Using Facebook as a vehicle for your anger was cruel and childish and only served to further the gap between the two of you; I am reminded of the William Blake poem “A Poison Tree”. Do the lines ring familiar to you?

The first thing you need to do is trust your instincts. You say you have never known Marcy to gossip, so ask yourself why she would start. If you can’t think of a reason, give her the benefit of the doubt and approach Sam. Ask him point blank – as you should have to begin with – exactly what Marcy said about you and your sisters. If it was so harsh that he felt the need to tell you, I doubt his memory will have completely faded by now. If he tried to “save” you from hearing the details or uses any other kind of stalling tactic, there is a good chance he is lying to you. Why he is lying is not important; maybe he just doesn’t like Marcy for whatever reason, some relationships are like that. However, you cannot allow him to destroy your relationship with Marcy over (possibly) untruthful and (in my opinion) mean-spirited statements.

The next thing to do is to go see Marcy. You know where she works, so why not ask her to join you for coffee after work? I am sure she would love to see your kids again. Tell her that you owe her an apology for taking out your temper on her in such a public way, and tell her that you should have asked her about this in private two years ago: Did she ever gossip about you and your sisters, even to other family members? You do not have to tell her it was Sam who suggested that she was a gossip because she probably already knows, judging by her reaction to you in the parking lot of her job. Whatever Marcy tells you, accept her at her word – and accept that this relationship needs repair, starting with the two of you letting go of your anger towards each other.

 Anger is a funny thing…we may think nobody knows about it but it can fester and affect the relationships we have with those around us – including a spouse. Could your husband want to spend less and less time at home because your attitude has changed over the last year and a half? Look deep for the answers; ask him to accompany you to a few counseling sessions to get to the root of your problems or even go by yourself to figure out why you were so quick to believe someone else’s gossip and so slow to let go of your anger.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.