A Little Bit

When scientists, the government, companies, advertisers say something - anything - is "safe," they follow the industry standards.  As a scientist, especially, they must follow good research techniques.  I clearly understand that.  In my lay terms, this, though, is what they mean:

The amount of ingredient "x" used (as directed,) would not cause you permanent damage, or at least not for a long time.  Because there's only a little bit in the toxic item, which deems it "safe."  Really.  That's the scientific definition of something being considered safe or at least doesn't cause cancer.  You know, like TV & video game violence don't cause crimes.  And some things, there's such a little bit of it, and everybody puts that little bit in, that the government doesn't make them disclose it on the ingredients list.  Like lead in your red lipstick.  Or softening chemical in your ice cream.

Here's the thing with me, though.

There's only a little bit of surfactants in soaps and shampoos, fragrances, stain-resistant and water-shedding coatings, parabens (preservatives in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals,) fluoride, lead (in your red lipstick,) pesticides on your fruits and vegetables, hormones, bleach, bisphenal-A so that they won't harm you.  But what about the manufacturing process?  The workers?  The remnants?

Did anyone test what happens to us and our kids who are in aggregate ingesting
a little bit of hormone in our beef, pork, chicken, eggs and milk,
a little bit of mercury in the approximately 14 vaccines that our babies get,
a little bit of lead in your red lipstick,
a little bit of preservative in our soaps, lotions, cosmetics (which they find lodged in breast tissue,)
a little bit of the petroleum-based estrogenic fragrances in our air fresheners, soaps, candles, shampoos, make up, fragranced markers,
a little bit of bleach on our cut carrots and diapers and tampons,
a little bit of plastic off-gassing from our new car seats, carpet, coats, shoes, pajamas, nail polish
a little bit of plastic leeching out of the pellets they put in farming soil,
a little bit of plastic leeching from our canned goods, paper plate coating, toys.

But don't worry; it's SAFE.


I Saw You Standing There

I saw you standing there, putting on your helmet.  A silver BMW. 650 cc.  I approached you.  I was bold like that, even then.  I asked if it was yours, the motorcycle.  You blushed.  Why, yes! Yes it is.  The blush was not for me, the bold young woman, but for your lie.

The bike was your dad's, a man who lied easily, without even the blush.  The one who lied to your mother business trip after trip, denying the significance of late night dinners with young women.  You didn't lie as easily.  Your pale skin flushed each time, punctuating your blue eyes, dimples, while your blond hair swept over your forehead.

The blush, I thought, was your True Inner Self, that you were really Good, but corrupted by Nurture.  I would reveal this True Inner Self.  Because I would really understand him.  And rescue him.  He was truly a kind man.  He had a sweet nature.  It was unfortunate that he was divorced from a wife.  They married too young.  They were so different.  She had their two children and was with her parents.  Bad things happen to good people.

He was sweet. And kind.  And patient.  And I wasn't going to marry him, after all.  It didn't matter that he didn't have the same foundational beliefs about life and death as I did.

So I prayed for him, that he would become a Christian.  Doesn't that seem like the right thing for a Christian girl to do?  No, you see, I prayed so that my desire would be justified in His sight.  Because deep down inside, I knew it was not a good place to be.  Should we do something that we know isn't right and then ask for forgiveness?  That's manipulative, isn't it? Abusing someone's love?  Whether your earthly father or your Heavenly one, should you deliberately get into a bad situation knowing you can get him to fix it?  "Look, I want this (him,) and I want you to make it right."  God the Vending Machine.

The first time I went to his duplex, which he shared with a roommate, I saw a woman's things about.  At my questioning stare, he blushed.  Yes, they're her things.  Well, we're not divorced yet.  Well, we're living apart.  Well, I haven't called a lawyer yet.  No, we're not technically separated.  But she knows, she knows.  That blush.

"It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light."

In the dark of night, my fingers coiled around the phone, I paused.  I asked, "Are you alone??" This time, I could almost hear him blush.  I saw more than heard the rustle of sheets.

Of course, his wife didn't know.  This woman didn't, either.

But I did know.  As the dawn approached, exhausted from crying, I stumbled into The Other Woman: me.  Me, the unblushing liar.  I could see myself  standing there, having been a part of all the lies.  But most painful of all, the denial of everything I Believed, and lying to myself.