Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Would Julia Sugarbaker Do? Or Maude?

This post was written by our incredibly dear and close friend C. We adore her, even though technically we've never met her. Isn't the interweb awesome? And don't get us started C's sister - we want her to move in with us.  Anyway, C sent us this rant and it invokes two of our favorite TV ladies so we had to post it.

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As a tv-aholic, I have devoted considerable time and attention to female characters on television, from the early days of Lucy Ricardo and Edith Bunker to the present day of Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson. I really admire several characters, but two of my absolute favorite characters are Julia Sugarbaker from Designing Women and Maude, the title character in the show Maude. I like their wit and the way they used words to cut down shortsighted, narrow-minded bigots. I was thinking of them today as I encountered a fellow moviegoer when my autistic son was having meltdown in the theater.

I was leaving the theater for the final time after failed attempts to calm my son. Smurfs on the big screen freaked him out. I saw a woman with “The Look” on her face. I know The Look. It smacks of supreme frustration and fatigue. I wear it every day, especially now that we are trying to discover whether or not my son’s behavior medicine is causing a re-emergence of his severe reflux. I smiled at her and said sympathetically (and NICELY), “Are you having a tough day, too?” She said, “No, I’m not, but YOUR SON is RUINING THE MOVIE.” I was so stunned by her flat out rudeness that I just said, “I’m sorry, ma’am. C’mon, Buddy, let’s get out of here.”

As I prepared to circle the parking lot while waiting for my twelve year old and her friend (still inside the movie), I wondered what my heroes Julia and Maude would have said.

I think Julia would have said something like this:

"Lady, and I use that term as LOOSELY as possible, I do apologize that my son’s outbursts have disrupted your afternoon here at the cinema. I know how difficult it is to capture the nuanced dialogue and subtle humor of the Smurfs when a frightened child who has no functional language is screaming in distress and discomfort. I know how difficult it is because I deal with his screaming and his pain every.single.solitary.day. I know how difficult it is because I watch him longing to be like your little angels, who are kicking the seats of the children in front of them and loudly asking “When is this over? I hafta go to the bathroom.” He cannot even tell me that. I know how difficult it is because for the past eight and a half years of his life I have dealt with people like you who jump to conclusions about him and my parenting without any compassion or empathy whatsoever. I know how difficult it is because day and night I wrestle with the worry about the day that is coming- the day when I can no longer care for him in my home and have to turn him over to the kindness of strangers in a group home. If there’s one thing I appreciate, it’s difficulty. So, madam, you have my undying sympathy and my most profound apologies. Now go SMURF yourself!”


Maude, bless her, would have undoubtedly been more succinct. She would have squared up, GLARED at the stupid shrew and said, “God will get you for that, Lady!” Maybe someday I’ll have bracelets made up for moments like this”WWJSS?” “WWMD?” (What would Julia Sugarbaker Say? What would Maude do?”)

As I drove home, the skies opened and there was literally a tornado watch in our area. I thought to myself, “That lady better watch out for a flying house. Karma (and Maude) would have it heading straight toward her."


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

31 comments:

  1. Ah, there's nothing quite like watching grace in action, is there? Reminds me of the time when my daughter was 11 months old and we had just undergone her first plane trip, during which she cried/yelled/raised a ruckus for a good portion of the trip and we were Those People with the Baby, and at the end this lady walks up to us and waggles her finger in front of my kid's face and says nastily,'Well you're a NOISY little girl aren't you?' My awesome responses only occurred to me 6 hrs later. Sigh.

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  2. Uggggg... I am struggling to find words in response to what that incredible insensitive and rude woman said to you, but just keep shaking my head. So many things- 1. Going to a kid's movie one should realize that you forfeit that right to a quiet, serene, uninterrupted movie going experience. It the law of nature. 2. Pride goeth before a fall. 3. Don't judge lest you be judged. I'll never get over what some people feel they have the right to say. Crazy. My first child had a congenital cataract that required surgery and patching at 6 months. I was cornered once in the Home Depot when I was 8 months pregnant with child #2 by a very concern woman who very began to ask me what happened to my daughter's eye (16 months at the time). I explained what it was and that it was kinda rare for someone to be born with a cataract. Then she pointed to my belly and asked me, "So, what you do with this one to keep from having that again?" Huh?? I would've walked away, but she literally had me cornered. To this day, I still kinda wish I had just told that I stopped smoking crack. If only to see the smug look of "I thought so" on her face.

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  3. I love them both. Good choice in role models!! And eff that stupid lady.

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  4. I would buy one of those bracelets... :)

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  5. I will square up on that lady RIGHT. NOW. Just point her out!

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  6. God bless you! I teach special needs kids and have a son with ADHD (which isn't in the same neighborhood as what you deal with). I think I would have accidentally dropped something sticky on her.

    Have you read Shut up about your perfect kid? I read it this summer and thought I would enjoy tapping a t-box with those ladies :)

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  7. Please, please can someone make those bracelets (both WWMD and WWJSS) so we can all wear them. I think I would like them in the cool rubber stuff that all the 'cause' bracelets are made out of. And we could wear them and look for other people wearing them, and know that we are not alone. And they should definitely have sparkles!

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  8. I miss Julia. You, ma'am, do not even have the intelligence to wipe my son's nose, let alone judge his behavior. Good day, miss!

    Julie (not Julia)
    ilikebeerandbabies.com

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  9. Mean people suck. Do you know that AMC does sensory-friendly movies at select locations? Theatre not as dark, sound not as loud, other theater-goers not as insensitive. :)

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  10. Love, love, love the Julia Sugarbaker response. Sigh. I wish I could think that fast. But I end up doing the same thing you did - I apologize and leave the situation. Which - let's face it - that might be the right modeling for our little ones to see. . .

    But man I'd love to light a fire under some crazy biatch's buns.

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  11. Wow wow wow. I really don't believe tue absolute stupidity of some people!! As Maude told that idiot, God will get her.. He will also get you- with love and smiles and lots of mommies giving you hugs and high fives across the Internet!

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  12. I am a huge julia sugarbaker fan! way to go mama, for not just kicking that lady in the taco on the spot! so sorry you had to deal with that. someday, moms will learn not to judge one another so quickly and harshly. you rock!!!

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  13. F... that f...ing b...!

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  14. I like to use rude comments like that as a 'learning experience' for my own kids. While walking away--and still in earshot, say to child "Wow, that lady has not learned to -- insert proper backhanded insult here: say nice things, be polite, wipe her nose, brush her teeth... list is endless and hopefully mitigates future therapy sessions for my children about awful childhood...

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  15. Seriously, just memorize that speech and let it go next time. What have you got to lose and you'll feel so much better. And chalk one up to Maude and Julia for me.

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  16. Kiss that boy for me. Screw the shrew!!

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  17. Samantha laFantasieAugust 24, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    A friend in a writer's group of mine pointed this site out to me. I too have a child in the Autism Spectrum. I gotta say, there are times that I have bitten off someone's head for comments and disgusted looks that come my way in regards to my child's behaviors that she tends to have some days. From one mom to another, I'm here for you! :D
    Samantha LaFantasie

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  18. I have worked with adults with developmental disabilities for over 10 years and the scene you describe happened to me once while shopping with a woman who was around 40. This snitchy lady said, "Don't they have places for 'people like that?'" I looked straight at her and said, "yeah, they are right next to the places for people like you"

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  19. How I miss Julia...

    I'm no shrinking violet and tend to retort on the spot. However, as my kids age from toddlers to preschoolers, I find myself walking a fine line between 1) standing up for myself/kids (in my mind anyway), and 2) wanting to teach the kids the importance of turning the other cheek.

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  20. This is the first time I have ever teared up NOT from laughter at a rant. Thank you for sharing this painful, yet enlightening, experience with your readers. God bless your sweet boy and you. That rude ass lady needs a reality check and to definitely go smurf herself.

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  21. People are just horrible. And stupid. Thank goodness this wonderful group of ladies is here to balance out the jackwad quotient of everyone else.

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  22. The right thing to do was to apologize and move on. Next time, though, change your apology to: "I'm sorry *his* autism is such a problem for YOU." If there is the slightest bit of human there, the jackhole of the moment will get the point and feel like the jackhole they are. If not, we don't give a damn about them anyhow. They'll get theirs someday. Plus, it works in every.single.situation.

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  23. Sorry to post as anonymous...not sure how to do it any other way. My heart goes out to you. My son is also autistic and HATES the movies. Lesson learned the hard way, but now we know. You carried yourself with such grace in an impossible situation. Here's hoping someone got gum in her hair before the end of the movie.
    RFM readers rock...and mad props to Ninja...BEST.RESPONSE.EVER.

    P.S. I would totally wear those bracelets, too.

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  24. I think those are two of the best role models EVER! You did them both proud. Hugs to your sweet boy!

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  25. Ohhhhh, if only I could do what Julia Sugarbaker would do! Love her, love your rant and love this post!

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  26. I absolutely LOVED this post!!! Julia Sugarbaker is one of my favorite TV ladies (fellow Southern Belle an' all that), and Maude just rocks out loud. I would definitely wear both those bracelets. And I hope that woman's "little angels" puked all over the car on the way home.

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  27. Yup. That's why I haven't seen a movie in years. Too afraid of that crap. Also? I suspect we'd last about 16 minutes before he was bored.

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  28. people are really stupid. and obtuse. what with what, 1 in 120 (?) kids diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum these days, you'd think something might have clicked in that direction for her. AND - favorite JS rant was about how the South loves crazy people (referring to Bernice, of course!) - here - I found the quote (maude, I love the internet): "I'm saying this is the South. And we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic. We bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off. See, Phyllis, no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they're on." :)

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  29. my sister is going through a divorce, and i regularly have her change "WWJAD" what would jennifer aniston do?

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  30. My son was diagnosed with Autism this week and I thank you so much for this post. I went through something so similar just this morning (not to mention almost everytime I leave my house). We were in the middle of a Childrens Festival when Squishy (my autistic son) had a full throttle meltdown. The looks I got were horrific. I was so grateful to this woman who pushed my daughter in the stroller while I restrained My son was diagnosed with Autism this week and I thank you so much for this post. I went through something so similar just this morning (not to mention almost everytime I leave my house). We were in the middle of a Childrens Festival when Squishy (my autistic son) had a full throttle meltdown. The looks I got were horrific. I was so grateful to this woman who pushed my daughter in the stroller while I restrained

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  31. Ninja - I LOVE YOUR QUOTE!!!!!! Fabulous.

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