Posted in 29 for 29, Humor, Life Musings

29 of my favorite films and the witticisms I shamelessly stole from them

Anyone who knows my family knows we communicate 10-30% in movie quotes on any given day. Below are the films I’ve stolen some of my most frequently-used quotes from, in absolutely no order because I tried and it was just too hard to self-analyze based on frequency. You’ll all live.

29. Pirates of the Caribbean films

“I love those moments. I like to wave at them as they pass by.”
“But why is the rum gone?”
“Wait for the opportune moment.”
“I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request.”
“I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly, it’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly stupid.”
“They’re more what you’d call guidelines…”
“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

28. Indiana Jones
“It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”
“No, the OTHER right, YOUR right.”
“Snakes. Why’d it have to be SNAKES?”

27. Thank You for Smoking
“I’m never wrong.”
“I proved that you’re wrong, and if you’re wrong, then I’m right.”
“Well, that’s one theory.”

26. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
“It’s useful being top banana in the shock department.”
“There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion.”
“People don’t belong to people.”
“How do I look?”
“Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.”
“What do you do, anyway?”

25. Wet Hot American Summer

deadpan: “You guys aren’t supposed to be <out of your bunks>…you’re in trouble…”
“You taste like a burger, I don’t like you anymore.”
“Your craft is a muscle, you have to exercise it.”
“Take a break, think about what you’ve done.”

24. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

“It’s okay, I make lamb.”
“Put some windex on it.”
“There’s a hole in this cake.”
“A boont?”

23. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
“It’s just a flesh wound.”
“What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?”
“Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries.”
“A path, a path!”
“Help! Help! I’m being repressed!”
“HUGE…tracts of land.”
“There are some who call me…Tim?”
“I’m not dead yet!”
“You make me sad.”
“Run awaaaaaayyyy…”

22. Saved!

“It’s all a grey area.”
“If God wanted us all to be the same, why would he make us all so different?”

21. Hercules
“It’s been a real slice.”
“Memo to me, memo to me…”
“He’s a GUY.”
“I’m a big, tough girl. I tie my own sandals and everything.”
“I’m a damsel. I’m in distress. I can handle it. Have a nice day!”

20. Dogma
“The buddy Christ!”
“Genocide’s the most exhausting activity a person can participate in…next to soccer.”
“Well, I say we get drunk, ’cause I’m all out of ideas.”
“It was worth a try.”

19. Sandlot
“Some more of what?”

18. Star Wars trilogy (almost cheating, I know)
“May the force be with you.”
“I love you. /I know.”
“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
“It’s a trap!”
“Never tell me the odds.”

17. Dazed and Confused

“Alright, alright, alright…”
“You know what I like about high school[ers]?”
“All I’m saying is that if I ever start referring to these as the best years of my life – remind me to kill myself.”

16. Out Cold
“Carpe the diem. Seize the…carp.”
“Needed burnin'”
“Well, see ya out there!”
“He…died. In a freak dogsled accident. Yeah, an 8-dogsled pile-up. It’s was horrible. The dogs are okay…”
“Everybody knows, nobody cares.”

15. Orange County
“Money can’t buy happiness!” “Oh grow up, yes it can!”
“Where are your pants, Joe?” “I had to take them off…to run faster through the flames…”
“And she said, I hate my job, I’m gonna burn this mother down! And I said, you better not…you, you better not…”

14. The Princess Bride
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
“Life is pain, anyone who says different is selling something.”
“You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
“As you wish.”
“Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.”

13. Love Actually
“Just in cases!”
“Life is full of interruptions and complications.”
“FUCK! It’s freezing!”
“Hiya kids, here’s an important message form your Uncle Bill…”
“I don’t want something I need. I want something I want.”
“Do you think everybody knows?”

12. When Harry Met Sally
“I’ll have what she’s having.”
“You’re right, you’re right, I know, you’re right.”
“On the side is a very big thing with you.”
“See, you look normal, but actually you’re the devil.”

11. Blazing Saddles
“‘Scuse me while I whip this out.”
“And isn’t it a love-e-ly mornin?”
“Are we awake?”
“Splendid, splendid.”
“Hello boys, have a good night’s rest? I missed you!”
“Harumph, harumph!”
“Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome, come on in!”
“Need any help?” “Oh, all I can get.”
“I must, I must!”
“These are people of the land…the common clay…you know, morons.”
“Lily lily lily legs lily lily” (to my dog, don’t worry)

10. Some Like It Hot
“They all just want one thing from a girl.”
“I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop!”
“Well, nobody’s perfect.”

9. What Happens in Vegas
“You know why.”
“Seriously? I like, threw up in my purse last night.”
“I’m just giving you what you want, baby.”

8. Mean Girls
“Boo, you whore.”
“Please stop talking.”
“You can’t just ask someone why she’s white.”
“I just have a lot of feelings.”
“You can’t sit with us!”
“Why are you so obsessed with me?”

7. America’s Sweethearts
“I’m a paranoid schizophrenic, I am my own entourage.”
“I dream about bread.”
“Ever heard of falling off the wagon? This is what it looks like.”
“Life is a cookie.”
“Kiki! Kikikins!”
“I don’t care.”
“You’re the only one she’ll pretend to listen to.”

6. Little Miss Sunshine
“Losers are people who are so afraid of winning, they don’t even try.”
“When you’re young, you’re crazy to do that shit. I’m old! When you’re old, you’re crazy not to do it.”
“You’re not nearly as stupid as you look.”
“Fuck a lotta women, kid, I have no reason to lie to you. Not just one, a lotta women.”
“High school’s your prime suffering years! You don’t get better suffering than that!”
“You do what you love and fuck the rest.”
“Everybody just pretend to be normal.”

5. The Sweetest Thing

“That is the sweetest thing!”
“You named the puppy.”
“50% of what people say when they’re joking is true.”
“NO. That is NOT okay.”
“Yeah, no, I’m good, never better – never better.”
“You can always just…get divorced!”
“I look beautiful.”

4. 10 Things I Hate About You
“…and hell is just a sauna.”
“Hates you with the first of a thousand suns.”
“So now that you’ve seen *the plan* I’m going to go show…the plan…to someone else.”
“I don’t want to hear that defeatist attitude from you.”
“Are you saying I’m not a pretty guy?”
“The shit hath hiteth the fan-eth.”
“I’m confiscating this. This too.”
“Someday, you’re gonna get bitch slapped and I’m not gonna do a thing to stop it.”
“Don’t let anyone, ever, make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.”
“I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?”
“I want you, I need you, oh baby, oh baby.”
“Just because you’re beautiful doesn’t mean you can treat people like they don’t matter.”

3. Eurotrip
“Seemed easier.”
“I am never drinking again.”
“This is definitely where I parked my car.”
“The girls never came!”
“I’m freakin’ out, man, I’m freakin’ out!
“Here’s a fun fact…”

2. Zoolander
“…it doesn’t mean that we too can’t not die in a freak gasoline fight accident.”
“How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read… if they can’t even fit inside the building?”
“I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking.”
“Are you serious? I just told you that a moment ago.”
“I think I’m getting the black lung, pop.”

1. Garden State 
giphy.gif“Don’t tease me about my hobbies. I don’t tease you about being an asshole.”
“If you can’t laugh at yourself, life’s going to seem a whole lot longer than you’d like.”
“Good luck exploring the infinite abyss.”
“So what do we do now?”


Posted in 29 for 29, Humor, Uncategorized

29 videos that make me happy.

This is a day late…but yesterday would have been a day early…February is a little bit crazy, but it still deserves a #29for29 list.

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns…and we all have our ways of dealing with them. One of my favorite methods of dealing with the less-than-pleasant world is to watch videos that bring me joy.

Here are my top 29, ordered from amusing to life-bringing. Watch at your leisure.

29. Obama’s like a real person


28. Weekend Update Joke-off (where my fave people on SNL were all together)


27. Pretty much any Scrubs episode prior to season 7. Here are some options for you (and I do the first one, btw).


26. Canadian Tire thingy aka…sappy teacher video


25. Jack Sparrow


24.  Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (the middle is my favorite part)


23. The adorable laughing penguin.


22. Movie Insults (for when you want to say things you shouldn’t)


21. The end of Crazy Stupid Love


20. Any of Jimmy’s Thank You notes


19. Dick in a Box (an oldie but a goodie)


18. The final Obama Anger Translator (because I can’t anymore)


17. If you’re not a Texas Tech fan, you won’t get this one – if you are, I don’t need to explain. Crappy video quality, sure, but my memory is sharp.


16. The Little Miss Sunshine dance scene


15. Bruce Willis as Rachel’s boyfriend


14. Glove and Boots Hero’s Journey (yes, it’s educational, but I still love it)


13. Drunk History vol. 5 Remember when drunk history was only online? I do. I’m so old.


12. Any Celebrity Jeopardy sketch with “Sean Connery” in it. That 40th anniversary edition is like a high school classroom.


11.Kyle’s Mom (no, I’m not better than this)


10. Beyonce’s dancers


9. Sassy Gay Friend – Giving Tree


8. The Mysterious Ticking Noise


7. Whine about it: Why mornings are the worst


6. America’s Sweethearts buffet monologue – I know this whole thing. Like, memorized.


5. Bonjour, Girl!


4. The convenience store scene. Sorry not sorry. At all.


3. 2015 Madden commercial (I still love it, shamelessly. I still don’t totally know why.)


2. Substitute teacher video pt. 1


1. Substitute teacher video pt. 3 (low quality, I know, sorry, but it’s worth it)

Posted in 29 for 29, Life Musings, This is real life.

29 unforgettable experiences

I’ve had 29 years and 8 months of experiences. And as Colbert would say, I love experiencing experiences. Many of these experiences have made me a better person. Others have made great stories. At the end of the day, these 29 experiences have helped make me the person I am today.

29. Watching my high school football team win the state playoffs. The rain, the chilly weather, and awful playing conditions definitely made the showdown seem Hollywood-worthy. It also solidified my love of the game and being a fan.

28. Riding out a tornado at Sea World. I know, sounds like a Sharknado spin-off, but it happened. While I don’t think it really shaped me, it’s unforgettable.

27. Harvesting wine grapes. Never underestimate the power of a working weekend vacation.


26. Road tripping late at night.  When you’re in college, it’s always a great idea to drive 5 hours one way from Columbia, MO to Ames, Iowa and back on a weeknight to see Frank Warren speak. It’s also always a good idea to go for extensively long weeknight drives to air out frustration, even if you do end up in Fulton, MO.


25. Seeing Hot Hot Heat perform at the Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri my freshman year. I didn’t know who they were, but I do now, and it continues to stand as the best concert experience I’ve ever had.

24. Getting my tattoos. There are people who appreciate body art and people who don’t. I OBVIOUSLY love it – even if those two-three weeks after going under the needle are less than comfortable.


23. Finishing a whole chapstick. No, for real, it happened. I couldn’t believe it, and I don’t think that I’ve ever felt a greater sense of achievement.

22. Finishing my first book. Despite the fact that I will never, ever, ever have that one published, it was truly a labor of love and one of the top 5 things I’m proud of in my life.

21. Seeing Barack Obama speak at Mizzou before the election. It wasn’t just that he was a phenomenal speaker or that he became President, it was the whole process and feeling of the night. When there’s that much energy focused in the same direction, you can feel it in the air.


20. Getting pulled over for the first time. I drive with purpose. Sometimes that purpose is also quite urgent (or I feel like it is, anyway) and I end up driving a little faster than I should. I doubt that I’ll ever NOT drive like this, but the first time I got pulled over will always stick in my mind when I hit that one speed…

19. Being snow-stranded in NYC. As much as I love my friends and love traveling, I’m really, really bad when my travels don’t go as planned. I learned a ton about my tolerance for incongruity that three days.


18. Taking a positive psychology class. This class was one of the least-important classes I’ve ever taken, but I also have to say that

17. Seeing my name in print for the first time. It was addictive, and I still miss it a little. But in the end, I’m not about that cutthroat life and I want to actually MAKE change happen, not just write about people who do.

16. My second first kiss. When your first kiss is at age 5 on the playground, the second one is the real first one.

15. Doing missionary work in Piedras Negras and Eagle Pass. The summer after my freshman year of high school, I went on a mission trip with my (soon-to-be-abandoned-by-me) church. A lot of what happened on that trip informed my opinions about missionary vs aid work and helped me realize what I consider to be my ultimate goal in life: helping others.

14. Finally attending an Aimee Mann concert. I’ve loved Aimee Mann’s music since I was but a wee middle school student, so actually seeing her in concert after years of pining was absolutely amazing. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

13. Earning a journalism degree at Mizzou. Believe me, Mizzou’s undergrad program truly deserves its notoriety. There are things you learn about life, people, and the world as a working reporter that you can’t learn any other way. And Mizzou is the best place to do it.


12. Breaking my tailbone. So much pain. Going to classes and standing up the whole time. Not being able to actually SIT for a while. Whole thing.

11. The first time I bought something in a single-digit size. Yes, body positivity! We’re all beautiful! But really, I still remember the day that I actually fit into a size 8 pants and I started crying in the dressing room.

10. Every time I’ve thrown a dance. I love hosting things, whether it’s at my house or elsewhere. Homecoming at MHS, the Honors dances at Mizzou, I loved all the stress and excitement combined.


9. Graduating high school. I know, my college degree doesn’t make the cut, but this one does? Yeah, because leaving high school is like discovering that a whole world is open to you. That feeling is the best in the world.

8. Watching the kids I taught for three years move on to high school. I had all the feels with this one, because in my mind and heart, those kids were my kids – still are. I was a hot fucking mess for like 48 hours, but I wouldn’t trade knowing those kiddos for anything.


7. Buying a house. I’m so bad at making decisions that I can still remember the anxiety I felt at pulling the trigger on buying my house. Yet, I absolutely love it and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.


6. Almost flipping my car in the snow. Aaaaaand continuing to drive from Columbia, MO to Olathe, KS because I was determined to make it the hell out of dodge for the holiday. I was a fool. But oh well.

5. Going through therapy. Best decision I’ve made for my own health, ever. If you truly want to know yourself and improve your life, consider it.

4. Adopting & rehabilitating a street dog (or three). Each of my fur babies have come to me with their own stories and their own struggles. Figuring out earn their trust, keep them healthy, and make them a part of the family made me a better person.


3. Studying abroad in South America. It make have been a short stay, but learning how to communicate across cultures, expanding my horizons, and building connections in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay really made an impact on how I imagined my future and what I believed I could do.


2. Being a PA. I swear, being a PA was the best preparation for anything life can throw at me. Except like, paying taxes and bills and whatnot. But everything else? Yeah. Definitely. And it gave me confidence I never had before – so I owe ResLife one (or 18,000).

1. Traveling alone. I recently went to the UAE and Ghana, but I’ve been other places on my own before – from Chicago to Boston to road trips galore. Truth is, you learn something new about yourself with each trip.


Posted in ...for real people, Life Musings, This is real life.

The Six Stages of Baths

Sometimes, I make my dogs unhappy by giving them what I call baths and what they call a brush with a hot, watery death.

They all go through the same six stages, similar to but not quite the exact same as the stages of grief. Dorrie’s are the most visible because she has such an expressive little face.

Stage One: Denial No, surely you couldn’t have said the word “bath,” you probably said something different, like “bed” or “wrath” or “snuggle time” and I just misheard you.


Stage Two: Bargaining  I’m not that dirty. Besides, the sticky sap from those weeds you just got rid of makes my hair stick up adorably, like a puppy-Einstein, but it won’t do that if you wash it all out…just….turn the water off, okay?


Stage Three: Blind Hatred Fine. This is how it’s going to be? Fine. I don’t care. I hate you anyway. I’ve always hated you. You’re the worst Mom ever, and I’m not going to make this easy for you.


Stage Four: Depression I’ll never be dry again. This is how I’m going to die. Wet and soapy and miserable in this white torture tub. I’ll never have popcorn again.


Stage Five: Acceptance tempered with Lingering Bitterness Alright, I’m clean. You’ve shampooed and conditioned me and now everything smells like delicious coconut, and the oatmeal actually felt good against my skin, but I’m not happy about that. It didn’t last long enough to make it worth it to me. I’m still never forgiving you.


Stage Six: Unadulterated Bliss OH MY GOD, I’M SO CLEAN! I wish I was this clean every day! This was the best idea ever.


Posted in Life Musings, Life's A Trip., This is real life.

It’s Ghana be Great.

For those of you who are not aware, I’m headed to Ghana on the 15th of this month to fulfill a promise I made to myself years ago.


When I went to college, I swore that no matter what it took, I would become a person who made a difference in the world.

At first, I thought this would be through journalism. I quickly found out that while I love writing, it probably wasn’t the life for me for long. Then once I actually began reporting, I realized that as a reporter, you just go over and over the same issues day after day but nothing changes, and ethics requires that you not do anything beyond reporting.


Not gonna work.

So I decided to teach for a little while until I figured out what to do about making a difference in the long term. God only knows what possessed my first principal to give me the job on the spot – I mean, I talked about the Sexual Health and Safety Task Force I was on in college, said I would only be staying for two years max, and that I would most likely break at least one bone during that brief tenure (I did break my pinky finger WHILE TEACHING one year).

Who would hire that crazy, TMI-ing girl? Yet, she must have seen something I didn’t, because here I am, still teaching, 7 years later.

I’ve changed schools, grade levels, and even gotten a master’s degree – but I know myself. Change isn’t something I ever greet with open arms, but I also crave it like Reese’s cups. So. Now that I’ve conquered my latest challenges, I’ve set myself a new one: to find out if I have what it takes to be an international aid worker for realizes one day.

This doesn’t mean that I’m ready to leave teaching just yet. What it does mean is that I spent a number of months researching the 5 Ws of potential volunteering placements and then prepping to spend a week in a maternal health clinic on the outskirts of Accra, Ghana followed by a week at an AIDS orphanage in the heart of the city.

I have my shots. 

I have my visa.

I bought a fancy new backpack to take.

I’ll be treating my clothes with mosquito repellant to avoid Zika.

I read a guidebook about Dubai, my stopover city on the way back.

I am terrified.

(Conveniently, this means that I’m well on my way to crossing off #6 on my list, too.)

In a week I will be up in the air, on hour 12 of my 14 first leg, probably ready to lose my mind from a combination of cabin fever and anxiety. But by the time I finally arrive on Sunday, I’ll be one step closer to figuring out the next stage of my life.

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 11.47.24 PM

And that’s something to be excited about.


Posted in 29 for 29, Humor, Life's A Trip.

29 people I would totally marry right now

Last week, I was chit-chatting with a friend of mine about all the weddings I have coming up, including a couple of people who got engaged and are getting married SUPER-fast. I don’t really understand the rush sometimes, buuuuuuuut the more I thought about it, the more people I came up with to marry in an instant if they asked me.

So here you go – here’s a list of 29 people I would marry within the month if they proposed right now. Regardless of feasibility, of course.

29. That one kid from elementary school. You know the one. The one we all had that insane crush on because he was just SO CUTE and SO COOL. I would say yes so fast…even though I totally don’t even remember his name.

28. Dimitri from Anastasia Ya, fake, so I’m safe on this one. But I’m a sucker for a con artist who I can turn into an honest man, and those people don’t exist in real life, so…


27. Neil Gaiman The man has impressive hair and is a literary genius, so sure.

26. Dave Franco He seems like the lesser of the crazies when it comes to the Franco family, and therefore the smart choice. Plus, he’s loyal, or so I hear.


25. Dominic Toretto Vin Diesel as he is isn’t really my taste, but ever since I saw the Fast and the Furious in middle school, there has always been something irresistible about a big, buff, car-driving head of household who protects friends like family. I could totally be a part of that.

24. Flynn Rider He’s like, the realest of all the Disney princes, and he really isn’t into cheesy singing unless the mood strikes him, so he’s making the list of potentials.


23. Brangelina They’re strongest as a unit rather than separate. WE would be even stronger.

22. Chandler Bing How could I not? He’s like my favorite friend, and quite preferable to Matthew Perry himself.


21. Jonathan Taylor Thomas Look, I haven’t seen any recent images of this kid, but growing up, I wasn’t obsessed with Leo, Freddie Prinze Jr., or Ryan Phillippe, I was all about JTT.

20. Joe Biden He’s the most entertaining VP I’ve seen in a while. Plus, have you seen that scarf gif? No? Here you are.


19. Norman Reedus Not because of The Walking Dead. Never because of the Walking Dead. Because of Boondocks Saints. Always.

18. Harrison Ford I know he’s old guys, I do. But if the man who is Indiana Jones AND Han Solo asks me to marry him, I’m doing it.


17. Ferris Bueller I really need someone to help me take a chill pill and be spontaneous once in a while, so he’d be a great fit.

16. The Sauza Tequila commercial guy I don’t know his name, and I don’t want to, because if I do, there’s the danger that I might become a crazy stalked girl. I’ll just watch him on the YouTubes.


15. Aladdin I do like to discover new worlds.

14. Heath Ledger Yeah, I know, another impossibility. But if we’re dreaming, I’m going to go all-in. Especially since…well…a lot of my early dreams involved this guy.


13. Daniel Radcliffe It’s not just that he plays the Boy Who Lived…it’s also that he played one of the most interesting characters I’ve read in adult contemporary fiction, Ig Parrish.

12. Harry Potter The fictional character definitely gets dibs on the spot above his actor. Books are always better than movies. Plus, I’m pretty sure he would let me adopt all the orphans.


11. Will Smith This one’s an impossibility because I am legit terrified of Jada Pinkett Smith. Like…terrified in an I-wish-I-was-half-that-badass way.

10. Zach Braff Teenage-me would have to say yes, no matter what. Despite the fact that it would almost immediately end poorly, it would have to happen. Plus, how adorably awkward would we be together? Who am I kidding, we would totally last.


9. Emma Watson Yes, a girl. In the top ten. I admire her in an I-wish-I-was-that-poised-and-badass-and-gorgeous way, so if she’s down, I’m in, too.


8. Joe Manganiello Thanks, Magic Mike, for helping me understand how sexy water and Cheetos can be.


7. Dule Hill I don’t think that anyone truly appreciates my love for this guy, especially his work on Psych. But believe you me, I’d be all about that, given had the chance.


6. Jon Hamm Don Draper. Mizzou. You need anything more? I don’t.


5. Mookie Betts He’s my Boston player-of-the-year, and he’s only five years younger than me, so I’d have some good years to spend mostly on my own before he retires. That’s important when you barely know someone.


4. James McAvoy Loved him since the original version of State of Play, and that fire has not burned itself out, though it has somewhat lessened since he took roles that require him to shave his head.


3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt For reals, y’all. I have loved him at all my (and his) ages – from Angels in the Outfield to The Dark Knight Rises. That’s some staying power right there.



2. Johnny Depp So wise. So private and mysterious. So talented. So damn hot. So yes.


1. The one person who gets me. Obviously, I haven’t met him yet, but if he’s out there, and he understands my need for alone time, appreciates both Aimee Mann & The Hush Sound, loves my quirkiness, and is totally cool with playing Ke$ha at our wedding, then it’s meant to be.


Posted in This is real life.

This is my obligatory gun law opinion blog.

I’ve written and rewritten and deleted and added and tweaked this to death – and the fact is, it will never be quite right. So here’s what you get. It’s not perfect, but it’s honest, and a lot shorter than it could have been.

Look, I’m from Texas.

What that means in reference to guns is that I have friends who have concealed carry licenses, I grew up with deer heads on my grandparents’ walls, and I actually taught 6 year-old children how to shoot .22 rifles at YMCA camp.

So, it’s not that I fear what I don’t know. It’s that I fear what I do know. I fear what I grew up with – not the guns that people use to hunt or protect themselves, but the guns people use to express their own rage, fear, and power (or lack thereof).

  • In 1999, I was 11 years old when two high schoolers murdered 12 of their peers and one teacher, in addition to wounding 23 other people at Columbine High School. I decided that I would never own a gun, a promise I’ve so far kept to 11 year-old me.
  • In 2007, I was a PA and undergrad at the University of Missouri when a mentally-ill student killed 32 people and wounded 17 others. Upon hearing that the second person murdered at Virginia Tech was an RA (my non-Mizzou equivalent), I had nightmares – not about dying, but about not being able to protect my residents. 
  • In 2012, I was in my 4th year as a middle school teacher when a 20 year-od murdered 28 people – 20 of them children – in Newtown, making it the second-deadliest school shooting. I knew I would have done exactly what Victoria Soto did and protected my students no matter what – even if they were much older.
  • Also in 2012, a gunman killed 12 people and injured an additional 58 in a movie theater, giving me one more reason to be constantly aware of my surroundings, no matter where I am or what I’m doing… 

Let’s not even mention that I can name 13 books*** off the top of my head about real or imagined gun violence.

I think every job I’ve had has been in a high-risk environment. Based on my experiences growing up, and considering that I’ve always worked in education in some way, can you blame me?

Honestly, at this point, my psyche has modified an old adage:

Only three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and getting shot in a rampage.

This is why Code Red drills in my classroom get serious fastThe moment one of my students plays around instead of following procedure, I very sternly explain to them that they’re essentially saying they don’t care if I die – because if they did that in real life, and someone decides to come into our classroom with a weapon, I’m going to be the first one to die. Period. That’s what I’ve signed up for, because if someone wants to hurt one of my babies, they’re going to have to go through me first, and they probably will.

My freshmen babies are always silent after that.

Yes, I know, it sounds dramatic. But to me, it’s a very real possibility – dramatic or not. It’s so real to me that when I was condensing my teacher space to allow more room for student activities, etc., I got rid of the 1950s desk with drawers because it would be too heavy and too short for us to easily upend and fully block the door with in an emergency.

Seriously. That’s why I kept a long and wide table instead.

On Wikipedia, the lists of school-related attacks around the world has been broken down into primary, secondary, and higher-ed.

There are so many there can be three lists.

And that’s just schools.

Gun violence certainly doesn’t stop at schools; these attacks just get a lot of media attention because children are involved. During the Democrats’ filibuster this week, 48 people were shot – in just those 15 hours. But so far, the media attention hasn’t been enough to bring any change.

In 1996, a man in Dunbar, Scotland, entered a primary school with four guns and killed  16 children and one pregnant teacher, as well as injured 15 other people before killing himself. By 1997, the legislature had responded by banning handguns in Scotland.

What did we do when just three years later, Columbine happened? Nothing. Our legislature did nothing, and continued that trend for the next 17 years.

Maybe Orlando will change this. 

Last Saturday night, 49 people thought they would go out, relax, and have a good time at a nightclub, assumedly deciding that the hangover the next morning would be worth it. I wish that had been the worst outcome

Do I believe these acts were driven by hatred and fear toward the LGBT community?

Absolutely. And that’s terrifying in a completely different way. Change is desperately needed here, too. But here’s the thing on that front – we’re actually making progress as a nation.

Is it enough progress? Hell no. But it’s got forward momentum. Things have changed for the better since I was younger in regards to rights, acceptance, and recognition for the community.

The opposite is true of gun control.

Let me be clear: I’m not of the opinion that we should completely outlaw guns.

Do I like them? No, no I pretty much hate them. But then, I also hate ice cream, and you don’t see me trying to take away your right to enjoy it.

All I want, and what I think we as a nation deserve, is a stricter control over who can and cannot purchase firearms in this country. Maybe even what type of firearms (I know, I know, liberal alert – watch out).

What I don’t want is to read another story in a couple of years about the new “deadliest US mass shooting.”

We can do better than this. 


***Here are the 13 books, in order of my personal preference: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew QuickColumbine by Dave CullenViolent Ends (story collection)How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon;  This is Where It Ends by Marieke NijkampWhy Kids Kill by Peter LangmanCrash and Burn by Michael HassanAll American Boys by Jason ReynoldsHate List by Jennifer BrownIn Cold Blood by Truman CapoteNineteen Minutes by Jodi PicoultIf I Grow Up and Give a Boy a Gun – both by Todd Strasser.