I paid $3.50 for a tube of Kids' After-Bite bug-bite cream on a friend's recommendation, and neglected to examine the ingredients. I now see the only active ingredient is...baking soda. This could have been less expensive.
I vote for "proud to be an American" to be changed to "glad to be an American." Applicable to all citizenships, of course. I would say that the word "proud" implies accomplishment, and works in situations where the accomplishment could be placed in either a "I'm proud that I ____" sentence OR an "I'm proud of you for ___" sentence. Math medal works: "I'm proud that I got that math medal" and "I'm proud of you for getting a math medal." Grades work: "I'm proud that I got an A on that test" and "I'm proud of you for getting an A on that test." Heroism works: "I'm proud that I helped put out that fire" and "I'm proud of you for helping put out that fire." Military service works: "I'm proud of my military service" and "I'm proud of your military service."
Things we're born with do not: "I'm proud of having brown eyes" and "I'm proud of you for having brown eyes." Citizenship does not: "I'm proud to be an American" and "I'm proud of you for being an American." It totally works to be proud OF MY COUNTRY and all it has gone through to become and remain a country---but it doesn't work to be proud OF MYSELF that I managed to be born here. It's inappropriate to pat myself on the back for that, even if I pat my country on the back all the day long. (This is of course a different story for people who had to work hard and jump through a lot of hoops to become an American; I'm talking only about those of us who accomplished it via being born to or adopted by American parents---which, as some of us reminded our parents frequently during our teen years, we had no choice regarding.)
(Even "glad" has its problems, implying as it does a gladness NOT to be citizens of other countries---even though those countries might be very nice places indeed and we wouldn't want to imply otherwise! Certainly not! But my guess is that other citizens of other countries would know what we meant, as long as they were likewise glad to be citizens of their own countries. "Liking home" is a sympathetic feeling.)
There were a bunch of kids hanging out in the library parking lot being stupid in exactly the way kids hang out in parking lots being stupid. Characteristic example: one of them lit up a cigarette (which, they looked pretty young for that, but I remember there were freshmen in my high school who already smoked, so) and another one went SHRIEKING across the parking lot without looking to see if she'd get flattened, saying in a baby voice "GIMME ONE GIMME ONE GIMME ONE!!" and then when the other kid said, "You JUST had one" she did massive flouncy pout and said, "NUH UH NUH UH NUH UH!!" and then started screaming that she was "F**KING PISSED!!" and flouncing back across the parking lot, and everyone involved was talking way too loud and with high awareness of putting on a performance. Stuff like that. Plus: skinny jeans and silly hair.
And anyway, after witnessing that, I find I now feel depressed-in-advance about my children's teenage years---and really about EVERYONE'S teenage years. This mood took a huge additional swoop downward when I came out of the library and Ms. Screamy Flouncy Baby said "HEY ROB!!" to Rob, and it emerged that she JUST FINISHED SIXTH GRADE, WITH ROB. She is smoking, and screaming obscenities in parking lots, and she is the same age as my firstborn. I was fretting about this to Paul, and Rob called out in a bored tone of voice from the living room where he was reading a book on the recliner (sprawled as if he'd been dropped there from above), "Think of it this way: I wasn't one of them." Well, yes. Not YET. It's just that the Krazy has not yet infected his brain. I've told him over the years that the teenage years are dangerous because teenagers are temporarily insane but THINK they're COMING INTO sanity. A few escape, but not many.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...