Wednesday, November 9, 2011

OCCUPY ... this.

This whole OCCUPY movement has got me thinking about a few things, not the least of which is that whole "strength in numbers" concept.  Group mentality has long been a source of inspiration, motivation, momentum, and of course debate.  And the OCCUPY situation is no different.

As with most things, it took me awhile to catch on to what this was all about.  I remember seeing some "OCCUPY Wall Street" message all over Facebook one day, and thinking ... Why?  Who would want to do that?  Then, true to form, I started researching and reading and talking to people, and I figured out what was going on.  What the overarching point seemed to be. According to The Forum, the Occupy Movement is "a collective of members representing the “99 Percent,” or the vast majority of Americans who are not considered “rich” and feel their voice has been underrepresented"  (

Excellent.  I'm in!  A club without an application process.  A club without membership dues.  A club based on the requirements that I be less-than-wealthy and consistently muted.  Not since I pocketed my new Sam's Club card have I felt such a sense of access and belonging, despite how unfamiliar I am with the inner workings and the minute behind-the-scenes details.  And yet, as I learn more and more about this movement, as I watch it branching out from its orginal Wall Street origin into smaller local communities nationwide, I am tempted to jump on the OCCUPY-go-round and propose a few OCCUPlans of my own. 

1.  OCCUPY Common Sense.  This is a hard one, since those already in possession of common sense require no elaboration, and those lacking it will be hard pressed to understand even the most basic explanation.  Even so, the march is underway. And ongoing.  I urge everyone to join in - and bring banners.

2.  OCCUPY Compassion.  This is challenging because I can count on one hand the instances where I truly see human compassion at work these days.  Most of the time, I am shocked by the sheer lack of interest, awareness, and concern that exists between people.  And I'm not talking about the annual holiday charity donations or the public displays of gift giving - I'm talking about those small, private actions we take to make someone else's life (or their day) a little better, a little more pleasant, a little more connected to the larger community -- all without asking for gratitude or recognition in return.  Incidentally, if you find this one helpful, no need to thank me.

3.  OCCUPY REAL Food. What the hell is with all the fake foods?!  Honestly, are we so fat-obsessed, so body-panicked, that a piece of white bread is the thing that can bring us crashing to Earth?  As a newly-diagnosed food intolerant (to pretty much every major food group), there is nothing I regret more than my first diet at 11 years of age.  It started with a spoonful of lowfat blueberry yogurt and a promise to be perfect.  But let's face it, food is meant to be eaten, and the body is meant to be fed.  So for goodness sakes EAT.  Enjoy.  Live.   And remember Hasky's two food rules to live by: (A) if you wouldn't bathe your outsides in it, you shouldn't be bathing your insides in it and (B) If you can't prounouce it, it doesn't belong in  your body.

4.  OCCUPY Talking. I think this one speaks for itself, so I'll leave you with this - Life is too short to spend endless hours trying to decipher a text or an email or a Facebook message. Call me.  Or (and this is a little progressive) come see me.  And for the love of all that is holy, do not walk by me only to send me an email 5 minutes later.  Not if you want me to take you seriously. 

5.  OCCUPY Happiness.  Misery is easy.  I guess that one explains itself in a nutshell.

6.  OCCUPY Grammar.  I know we all learned "there/their/they're" in school, people.  I used to teach English.  I've seen the New York State English curriculum.  No amount of stress or anxiety should relieve you of basic human literacy requirements.  The comma, the semi-colon, and proper sentence structure are your responsibility.  And while you're at it, hit up Spellcheck every now and then, and stop dangling your participles - they're blocking my view.

7.  OCCUPY  Action.  Yup, it would be great if that new idea were implemented.  And it would totally rock if that water bottle got changed.  I would love to see that food provided.  This, my friends, is what we call passive language.  And it has a function - it is used by passive people to indicate passive action.  And yes, there is such a thing.  At least in my world.  Passive action exists when, in the absence of actually DOING anything, people offer great ideas and then wait for them to get done.  Keep waiting ...

8.  OCCUPY Individuality.  Trends.  Fads.  Group mentality. No one seems to exist anymore.  We move as a collective.  We think as a collective.  And this is why public restrooms have officially become the least comfortable place on Earth.

9.  OCCUPY Belts.  As someone close to me frequently points out, "belt loops are not a suggestion."  Buckle yourself into that message, my friends.

10.  OCCUPY Hope.  Because even when we struggle, there is something propelling us forward into the next day. The next hour.  The next moment. Don't embrace the idea of hope, imagine what it means for you, and then pursue it.  And if you are blessed enough to find it, for goodness sakes share it as widely as you can.  The world needs hope more than it needs marches and banners.  The world needs hope more than it needs slogans.  The world needs hope more than it needs just about anything.

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