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Mucinex and Other Torture Methods November 19, 2008

Posted by rscottgriffin in Life In Detail.
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It is November, and the temperature has taken its first dives into the lower regions of the thermometer.  That means it’s time for cold and flu season.  I am the recent, lucky recipient of some sort of nasty head cold that has been going around our office for the past month.  Everyone knows it’s just “the stuff,” and it’s miserable.  However, since I had recently cleaned out my medicine cabinet of mostly-expired OTC medication, I decided to procure a sampling for my own experimental purposes.

Let me start by saying that anything with any kind of decongestant in it – usually any named medication with the subsequent letter “D” – cranks up my anxiety level more than three venti Starbucks coffees and generally makes me equally as jittery.  These are the wonders of psuedoephedrine and its replacements.  So, I tend to try and avoid those.  I did pick up some Publix brand Tylenol Cold daytime (just to get through the day in emergency situations), some Alka Seltzer Plus (which also has a little decongestant), and, because I’ve heard so much about it, some Mucinex.

For several days, out of both desperation and necessity, I used both the Publix brand daytime cold medication and Alka Seltzer Plus.  The Publix brand made me feel not only like I had drank these three venti Starbucks coffees, but when drinking them I was chasing Tylenol with Codeine.  Such a situation does not lend itself to clear thought.  The Alka Seltzer plus, although inducing some jumpiness, lead to much more clear-headedness.  So, for those of you that are sensitive to decongestants, I can recommend the Alka  Seltzer Plus as a viable, acceptable, and effective alternative.

That brings us to the Mucinex.  After my bleary-headed purchase, I realized that plain Mucinex is meant for chest congestion, and a separate Mucinex D is actually recommended for sinus and nasal congestion.  Knowing what that “D” means, and based on my testing described above, I decided that I did not need any extra decongestant.  However, as my cold progressed, things did make their way into my chest.  Therefore, I took my first shot at Mucinex yesterday afternoon.  Well, there did not seem to be too much of an effect at first.  You must give it a few hours, I guess, because late last night I began coughing so much that I thought my esophogas would rupture.  This morning I thought I would cough up a lung.  My eyes teared up, my chest heaved, my abdominals cramped up.  When they say expectorant, they mean it.  Seriously, if there is some counter-agent to the shit, I would consider giving it to prisoners and letting them dry cough themselves to near death until they beg for the antidote and/or confess.

I think it is truly an axiom that for the common cold that the medications we use to make ourselves better are worse than the actual cold.  Nothing will ever beat some warm chicken soup, comfort foods, the sofa, a warm blanket, some hot tea, and plenty of time for trashy tv.

We Are Partially to Blame for Prop 8 November 10, 2008

Posted by rscottgriffin in Uncategorized.
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There has been a lot of news coverage of the protests in California regarding the passage of Proposition 8.  This morning I received a Facebook message about a march on Saturday afternoon, which is a day of solidarity against Prop 8.  The pundits, talking heads, law school professors, political science junkies, pollsters, and anyone the media can line up to put in front of a camera are eager to disect and deconstruct how the proposition passed.  Was it the African American vote and high turnout for Obama, or was it the predominantly Catholic Hispanics, or how much did Focus on the Family or the Mormons effectively warp the meaning of the proposition and the prior ruling the California Supreme Court?  It is my guess that no single one of those things or voting groups was responsible for the passage of Prop 8, but everyone, us included, contributed to it.  (As a side note, David Gergen chided Cynthia Tucker on This Week yesterday for playing Identity Politics, so the above does not express my beliefs, but those ideas that have been floated for Tuesday’s result in California.  See also, here: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/11/09/colby-cosh-minorities-at-war-on-obamaland-s-western-shore.aspx )

What is achingly true is that in the hope, optimism, and excitement of Tuesday about what the United States of America had just done, the majority of voters in the country’s most progressive and accepting state, and the voters of Florida and Arizona, had, like many others before them, told gay people that we do not deserve to get married because of who we fall in love with. 

Our initial reaction is, who do we blame?  In a country that has supposedly turned a corner regarding what really matters about a person, how could this happen?  Which group voted against us?  Why do the churches hate us?  …And then the next instinct is to criticize.  Those stupid [insert whatever first derogatory comment comes to your head, here].  Those close-minded bigots.  Those  hateful, awful people.  Well, we are better without them.  We don’t need them. 

But, the inexorable truth stares us in the face is that we DO need them.  We need them if we hope to ever be treated as equal citizens in our society.  We do need them if we want our families and relationships recognized by our government as just as valid and important and real as those of our heterosexual bretheren.  We need them to pick up our banner, because, like everything else in politics, it’s all just a numbers game.  We need “them” all – straight, men, women, latino, latina, black, Asian, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist…everyone we can think of.  While we have drawn many forward-thinking, progressive people to our side, we still do not have the numbers.  We have to find and enlist those that would be sympathetic to our cause(s) and educate them.  We have to show everyone why we are just as American and boring and normal and plain as every other American.  When considering who to “blame” for Proposition 8, we need to take a long, hard look at what happens when we point a finger at someone else – three fingers are pointed back at us.

So, here we are, a week removed, and there is protesting and demonstrating and complaining and sorrow and anger after the fact that should have been the motivation BEFORE the election.  What’s done is done.  Although the state of the approximately 18,000 couples married in California during the interim period starting with the California Supreme Court ruling in May will come before a court, the actual reversal of Proposition 8 is highly unlikely.  The voters have spoken, and elected officials and even courts are loathe to overturn the will of the people once clearly expressed. 

We have to move forward.  We have to take a long, hard look at ourselves and figure out what to do next.  Sure, we can scream, but how much will that accomplish?  We have to get to work.  We have to get to work on an all-inclusive ENDA.  We have to get to work at the state and local levels for additional protections that say we can’t be fired from our jobs or removed from where we live simply for being gay (these laws still exist in a frightneningly high number of places around this country).  The most oft-cited civil rights-era case synonymous to the gay marriage fight is Loving v. Virginia, which overturned prohibitions agasint inter-racial marriage.  Loving was decided in 1967, three years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  It took years of struggle for African Americans to get equal rights on paper before that case was decided.  We have a very long way to go for, simply, the basic rights and protections achieved by other minority groups.  Actually, to think of it, we have to get ourselves thought of as a minority.

As the leader of the Log Cabin Republicans said after the ’04 win by Bush, we have to come out if we want things to change.  If we ever want our voices heard and to be taken seriously, we have to come out to our families, our co-workers, our friends, neighbors…everyone.  You have to come out because when those that voted for Proposition 8 realize they have gay cousins, neighbors, co-workers, fellow members of the PTA, etc…, they will start to think.  They will have a face to put with “those people.”  They will realize that our lives are just as normal and boring every other day of the year as theirs are.  We go to work, we pay our bills, we put gas in the car.

We also have to get organized.  Yes, the anti-marriage community, strongly funded by religious fundamentalists, poured millions into this fight, and they won.  They got their message early, they got their fundraising, and they used fear.  Our side assumed, wrongly, that, hey, it’s California, everything will be fine.  That started changing in August and September when the polls started going a little sideways.  At that point, we had already lost.  We don’t need to continue waiting for the other side to organize to provide us with a reason to respond or take action.  We need to organize and come up with our own message.  But, we have to start small. 

We also have to stop tearing each other down.  As gay men, we have a terrible habit of separating ourselves, even from each other…bears, otters, black, white, asian…look around you sometime.  If we ever hope to be included and have equality in society, we cannot expect to get it without demonstrating a LOT of acceptance of our own.  (Ask yourself, and I am as guilty of this as anyone else, how many times you’ve heard the words, “what is THAT?!” come out of your mouth when looking at a particular fashion choice.)  That also includes between gay men and lesbians.  Sure, there is some inter-mingling, but precious little.  Also, ask yourself how many transgendered people you know.  We have to become a true community. 

There is an enormous degree of selfishness in our community as well.  It may cut into 15 or 20 minutes of gym time, but there is a need for us to meet as a community and start determining how we can best educate the broader community in which we live that we are not the boogiemen and women coming after children every night.  I’m sure many of us can forego that extra $50 (or more) shirt to contribute to a gay-friendly political candidate or local and state-level equality movements.  We also have to realize that the fight is not about us as individuals.  I have had numerous arguments, one of them on election night, with a friend that does not care about gay marriage because it does not affect him and because he does not believe marriage should exist in the first place.  After calling him a Republican for his “me” attitude, I mentioned that it does not matter whether or not he wants to get married or has someone to marry, what matters is that somewhere out there, two men or two women want to marry each other,  commit their lives to each other, and have that union recognized by the government and receive the same rights that heterosexuals couples receive.  As long as those couples are not allowed that right, then there is injustice against all of us. 

As the finger analogy goes, for every finger than we can point at everyone that voted for Prop 8 in California (or Prop 2 in Florida or Prop 101(?) in Arizona), we need to take a serious look at the three that point back at each of us.  If we want to change direction, it’s going to take time, and it’s going to take work.  We have to come together, we have to start taking ourselves seriously, and we have to start doing the hard work to fight for and solidify rights for ourselves all over the country, and for each and every aspects of our lives.  And if we want to enjoy the rights of society as a whole, we have to start acting like a community of our own.  We have to court and include broader society in our lives because we need their votes.  We are no longer an island.  If we want to make the argument to have our voices heard and our lives and relationships and families treated equally, we have to give up this “us v. the world” mentality, and realize that we are part of the world, and we need their help.